The European Commission has launched its much-anticipated Green Deal this afternoon, confirming that it will propose a ‘climate law’ in coming months to commit the region to climate neutrality by 2050 and provide “predictably for investors”.
State aid revisions could "facilitate the phasing out of fossil fuels”.
As well as strengthening its climate ambitions, the Commission has said that all future “EU actions and policies will have to contribute to the European Green Deal Objectives” and all legislative proposals will have to include a ‘do no harm’ element – an approach being taken within the EU’s developing green taxonomy.
State aid will be revised in 2021, it added, to account for the Green Deal, and the revisions could "facilitate the phasing out of fossil fuels”.
RI will publish more details on the content of the Green Deal tomorrow.
The timing of the Deal’s release coincided with a major setback for the EU taxonomy, which was being negotiated at the so-called ‘Coreper’ meeting this morning by Member States.
The meeting sought to gauge the position of each country on the Common Understanding agreed last week, ahead of a vote next Wednesday. The vote would be one of the final hurdles before the taxonomy could become law. RI understands the discussions were scuppered when some countries – including France and the UK – said they would not approve the agreement.
According to UK-based sustainability group E3G, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Slovenia also refused to endorse the plans. It accused France and the UK – who both claim to be leaders on green finance – of “favouring their own political and energy interests over a strong outcome for the climate and environment”.
It’s possible that they were not happy with the current position on nuclear, which is one of the most controversial elements of the taxonomy negotiations.
Nuclear has not been excluded from the taxonomy under the latest proposals, but it is unlikely to survive future revisions which will include a ‘do no harm’ screen and other environmental objectives.
It is very unclear what the next steps will be for the taxonomy negotiations, which many still hope will be concluded by the end of the year. Earlier this week, A Council spokesperson suggested that the results of today’s discussion would pave the way for further trilogues.
Another option is for further negotiations to take place over the next week between Member States, in the hope of securing a positive vote next week. After it’s been approved by Council, it is expected to go to European Parliament for the final vote.