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Fair, just and deliverable: EU's "Fit for 55" climate package success hinges on bringing every city and region on board  

​​Reacting to the European Commission's 'Fit for 55' package which seeks to cut EU carbon emissions by 55% by 2030, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) calls for the new and updated rules to secure a central role and ensure direct financing for cities and regions who have legal competences and proximity to people in the transition towards climate-neutrality. 

The climate package proposed by the European Commission today aims to reduce emissions from industry, buildings, transport and land use, and will have significant implications for all European regions, businesses and citizens alike, also translating the polluter pays principle into practice. With a renewed vision for carbon pricing as the focal point, it is important that the package contributes to territorial cohesion. The package must meet the needs of every territory, increase the involvement, revenue allocation and access to direct financing for green investments and climate social expenditure for local and regional authorities who are responsible for implementing 90% of climate adaptation and 70% of climate mitigation actions.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the Central Macedonia Region in Greece, said: " Europe's transition towards climate-neutrality will only be achieved if it places people's needs at its heart, takes into account the specificities of every territory and leaves no person nor region behind. We must start by cutting red tape, ensuring Europe's local and regional governments have direct access to EU funds. Europe needs a green and just recovery that tackles the climate emergency, builds resilience, supports innovation and creates local jobs. Where they have competencies – such as in energy efficiency in buildings, sustainable transport, biodiversity protection and tackling energy poverty – we must empower cities, regions and all our citizens as to accelerate the green transition. This is why we have launched a European wide campaign – Green Deal Going Local ."

The Mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas (PES/ES), Chair of the CoR's ENVE commission and of the Green Deal Going Local working group , declared: "The Fit for 55 package is the starting point of a new climate revolution. It must be ambitious but we know that this all comes at a cost. The reality of climate change will affect every person and every territory, but it will impact the most vulnerable in society first. On housing, mobility, energy, and more, to be ‘Fit for 55’, we have a big role to play to make sure equity and strong social support are guaranteed to leave no people and no places behind."

With the new and updated set of energy and climate laws, the EU aims at cutting emissions by 55% by 2030 and reaching a net zero balance by 2050. The 'Fit for 55 package' is a major pillar of the Union's climate action and growth strategy. It consists of 13 legislative proposals that tackle different aspects of the green transition, with a revitalised Emission Trading System at its cornerstone. The revision of the EU ETS Directive aims to bring forward emission trading to the building and road transport sectors, where local and regional authorities have both the expertise and the competencies to deliver on the European Green Deal objectives and a socially just transition.

Europe's regions and cities must be recognised within the Social Climate Fund, alongside the Just Transition Fund, as over centralisation can threaten territorial cohesion and the social fairness of the green transition. The 'Fit for 55 package' also concerns the energy efficiency of buildings, where an enhanced cooperation between the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission was launched in March 2021.

'Fit for 55' updates of existing EU laws:

  • Revision of the EU emission trading scheme (EU ETS)
  • Revision of the regulation on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)
  • Revision of the effort sharing regulation (ESR)
  • Amendment to the renewable energy directive (RED)
  •  Amendment to the energy efficiency directive (EED)
  • Revision of the alternative fuels infrastructure directive (AFID)
  • Amendment of the regulation setting CO2 emission standards for cars and vans
  • Revision of the energy taxation directive

'Fit for 55' new legislative proposals:

  • New EU forest strategy
  • A carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM)
  • A Climate Action Social Facility
  • ReFuelEU Aviation – on sustainable aviation fuels
  • FuelEU Maritime – on greening Europe’s maritime space

David Crous
+32 (0) 470 88 10 37

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