The EU’s green deal plans face reality. Fear of mass protests is growing.
A few weeks ago, the view of a beautiful, green future still seemed cloudless, at least in the circle around Ursula von der Lane in the Berlemont building in Brussels. This is where the European Commission sits, where the Green Deal has been drawn up, which will make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.
At the heart of the implementation is a legislative package titled “Fit for 55”. When the European Commission presented its program in July, the responsible European Commission Vice President Franz Timmermans spoke of “the best moment for the European Union,” a “strong signal to the world.” , Europe is a pioneer in climate protection.
Ursula von der Leyen’s management style caused problems
However, there have been numerous voices warning that companies, employees, national budgets and ultimately consumers will be overburdened. There was anger even within the commission – about Ursula von Der Lean’s management style and the plan to burden customers more. Although one-third of the commissioners finally approved the package, they recorded their criticism in the minutes and minutes of the meeting.
A few weeks later, the Commission’s desirable plans finally seem real. Because what does it mean if the EU wants to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1999? On Tuesday, the parliament in Strasbourg discussed “Fit for 55” and Ursula von der Lane will present more details in her State of the Union speech this Wednesday – at least that is to be expected.
Concerns about “unrest” in the population
For days, warners have been asking for a sense of proportion – and referring to the already hugely increased energy expenditure on the continent. Nadia Calvino, Spain’s finance and deputy prime minister, said over the weekend that she had appealed to her European colleagues to ensure that the “green change” was a “socially just change”. The sharp rise in CO2 and gas prices “will cause unrest among the people.” Governments are putting pressure to reduce the negative impact on household income and the competitiveness of companies, especially small and medium ones, Calvino told reporters.
Concerns are growing in the international community about popular protests such as the “Yellow West” in France. The movement was first started by President Emmanuel Macron, who had planned to finance the movement’s energy by imposing a high tax on petrol, especially diesel. Do transition drivers in Germany, Greece or Ireland have to dig deep into their pockets?
“If we forget people during the transition, we run the risk of creating a European ‘Yellow West’ movement,” says Michael Blos, MEP from Greens. “That is why we are skeptical of introducing CO2 prices across Europe. If European citizens are not reimbursed for costs in fuel and buildings, it will lead to social imbalances.”
The Commission is planning a social fund – but is it enough?
The Commission plans to use a 144 billion social fund, some of which will come from emissions trading, to address social problems, but many politicians in European capitals fear it will not be enough. In Spain, for example, more and more people are protesting against rising energy costs. Dissatisfaction is also growing in countries such as Portugal and Poland. The EU will end up being the only victim of the expensive autumn-winter months.
This is not the best omen in the coming weeks as the Commission discusses the legislative package with members of the European Parliament and the Council. No one thinks these discussions will take place without arguments and changes in the program. Ursula von der Lane and her colleagues have a lot to do to persuade them.
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