“Green Deal must not create social problems”

STRASBOURG – The executive vice-president of the European Commission in charge of climate policies, Frans Timmermans, stressed today in Strasbourg the risk that the EU measures of the “Green Deal” lead to an aggravation of social inequalities, in particular with the increase in energy costs if they are not compensated by appropriate redistribution policies by the Member States.

The Commission, recalled Timmermans speaking to the plenary of the European Parliament, proposed on July 14 a series of environmental and energy transition standards, with the aim of bringing to 55% the reduction of climate-altering emissions in 2030 compared to levels 1990. “We will have plenty of time to discuss the individual measures we propose and the Commission is open to looking for alternatives” if changes to the package are proposed. But, the executive vice president warned, “we have to be very clear about one thing: whatever measures you take, all these measures have an effect on prices, and the art of politics will be to ensure that the effect on prices does not affect the more vulnerable and that the old instrument of redistribution policies is used to ensure that the burdens are equally distributed in society ”.

For example, “reducing VAT, reducing energy taxes, or giving direct support to families, are the choices that Member States can make”.

“The only thing we cannot afford – added Timmermans – is for the social front to oppose the climate policies front. I see this threat very clearly – he observed – now that we have a discussion on rising prices in the energy sector. Only about 1/5 of this increase can be attributed to the increase in the price of CO2 emission allowances “under the European ETS system, while” the other increases are simply a consequence of shortages in the market “.

«Paradoxically – continued Timmermans -, if we had had the ‘Green Deal’ five years earlier, we would not be in this position, because then we would have less dependence on fossil fuels and natural gas. We have seen during this energy price crisis that the prices for renewables have remained low and stable ».

“So instead of being paralyzed or slowing down due to rising prices in the energy sector, we should speed things up in the transition to renewables, so that affordable renewable energy becomes available to all,” argued the Executive Vice-President of the Commission.

The “Fit for 55” package, among other things, introduces the ETS system for the payment of emission permits in the transport and construction sectors, and a Social Climate Fund, which will be made available to States members.

Timmermans then proposed to the European Parliament and the EU Council to look at the ‘Fit for 55’ package “as a whole”. And, he added to the MEPs, “if there are elements that you would like to change, then help us to find alternatives that achieve the same goal. In a way that equitable burden sharing is ensured within society, between Member States and between regions; this – he concluded – is the final goal of what we will have to do now ».

Speaking on the sidelines to the microphones of Radio Rai, Timmermans acknowledged that Italy has done “an excellent job” with its National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (Pnrr) of “Next Generation EU”, because it has invested in the transition energy.

“This – underlined the executive vice-president of the Commission – is essential, because energy from renewable sources costs much less than natural gas. So if we had done this five years ago, energy prices wouldn’t be that high today. Therefore we must accelerate the energy transition, and Italy is a good example, because it is doing a truly excellent job ».

As for the use of nuclear energy “it is a choice that the Member States will have to make, on this the Commission is neutral. We – recalled Timmermans – support the States even if they make this choice. But I would say only this: look at the costs. The costs of renewable energy are very low today, while those of nuclear energy are very high ».

(with source Askanews)

Source: RSS DiariodelWeb.it Economia by www.diariodelweb.it.

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