EU climate sprints – to avoid Sweden

The EU is increasing speed to reach as many climate settlements as possible already by the end of the year. One of the reasons: concern about what Sweden’s new government actually views on the climate.

In the summer of 2021, the European Commission presented its large “fit for 55” package with a long series of measures to reduce emissions by the year 2030 by at least 55 percent compared to 1990 levels.

As usual, the various bills have since been processed by the EU Parliament and by the member states in the EU’s Council of Ministers – after which final compromise negotiations began a few months ago.

Now we are really sprinting to get as much done as possible before the turn of the year. As usual, this is due to the fact that the current country chairing the Council of Ministers – the Czech Republic – wants to go as far as it can. But also that there is a clear concern, at least in the EU Parliament, about what the next presidency country – Sweden – has in the climate area.

Ingen optimism

Not least, the anxiety is clear in the Swedish opposition.

– I notice a great concern down here among my colleagues that the Swedish presidency will not be as ambitious as had been hoped for, says EU Member of Parliament Emma Wiesner (C), on the way to yet another compromise negotiation in connection with the EU Parliament sitting in Strasbourg this week.

– People had seen it as a relief, that if we don’t finish in time (before the turn of the year), Sweden will in any case be able to tie the knot. But the optimistic view of the Swedish presidency no longer exists as the government is going hard on the climate goals. This means that expectations are lowered for the Swedish presidency and people speed things up down here so as not to leave anything behind for Sweden, says Wiesner.

Must express ambition

Even Sweden’s new government parties have felt the anxiety.

– Yes, there is a desire to be ready because you have of course followed the debate in Sweden, says Karin Karlsbro (L).

She urges colleagues at home to be clear.

– My opinion is that the government must clearly state its ambition with the targets to lower emissions. We lean towards the EU and the EU’s regulations, but Sweden is also part of the EU and what Sweden does has an effect on the EU as a whole, says Karlsbro.

The EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers have so far agreed on three out of 14 legislative proposals in the “fit for 55” package. Now weekend meetings are also planned to, among other things, try to get things done with, for example, new rules for the trading of emissions rights, ETS.

“Unwarranted Concern”

The negotiations that may not be completed this year will be negotiated further this spring by, above all, the new environment minister Romina Pourmokhtari (L). Party colleague Karlsbro sees it as a chance for the government to show its forefoot.

– There is a great opportunity for Sweden’s government to step forward and start this presidency in an offensive way, says Karlsbro.

However, the new EU minister Jessika Roswall (M) does not think that anyone needs to worry.

– It is an unwarranted concern, because we have high ambitions in the government. As far as the presidency is concerned, one of the priorities is to reach the goal with the fit for 55 package, says the minister.

Good for the climate?

Roswall visited the EU Parliament on Tuesday as part of the preparations for this spring and emphasizes that the climate proposals are a high priority for Sweden as well.

– I don’t know how far the Czechs will make it, but what doesn’t get done we really want to make sure we get to the finish line, says Roswall.

For her part, Emma Wiesner states that the big winner could be the climate – if the legislation is completed earlier than expected.

– It will not be a feather in the hat for the Swedish presidency, as one might have hoped for, but for the climate it is a huge win, says Wiesner in Strasbourg.

Facts: Fit for 55

The EU’s member states agree that the entire EU must be climate-neutral in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. Initially, the goal is that emissions in 2030 must have been reduced by 55 percent compared to the base year 1990.

To get there, in July 2021 the EU Commission put forward 14 heavy proposals on everything from the trading of emissions rights, increased energy efficiency and the phasing out of petrol cars to stricter requirements on forestry and sustainable fuels in aviation and ship traffic.

The proposals have been processed in parallel by the member states in the Council of Ministers and by the EU Parliament and are now being discussed in various compromise negotiations between the two institutions and the EU Commission. Three of the bills have already reached preliminary settlements.

The figure of 55 percent is now believed to be at least 57 percent, with reference to the decisions that have been made.

Facts: Presidency of the EU

The main task of the country holding the EU presidency is to lead the meetings of the Council of Ministers and ongoing negotiations with the EU Parliament and the EU Commission. However, all regular summits are held in Brussels under the leadership of the Council’s permanent president, currently former Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

The chairmanship rotates between all member states for six months at a time. This is how the list looks this year and beyond:

2022: France (spring), Czech Republic (autumn)

2023: Sweden (spring), Spain (autumn)

2024: Belgium (spring), Hungary (autumn)

2025: Poland (spring), Denmark (autumn)

2026: Cyprus (spring), Ireland (autumn)

Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by

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