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As everyone knows, during the pandemic, a safe distance should be maintained from others. Vladimir Putin took this very seriously when he received Emmanuel Macron in the Kremlin last Monday: A table with a length of about four meters separated the two presidents. As Reuters now reported, citing French government officials, Putin had given his guest a choice: Macron should either accept a PCR test by Russian medics – or just maintain distance. “But we could not accept that they get their hands on the president’s DNA,” Paris said.
Thus, Putin’s concern about an infection simultaneously provided photos symbolizing the political distance between Moscow and the West. For Macron, however, the meeting in the Kremlin provided a welcome opportunity to present himself as an important leader. After all, the French president is in the middle of his election campaign, even though he has still not made his candidacy official. Yesterday, he stepped in front of the cameras in Belfort to present his climate and energy policy plans. These essentially include a relaunch of the French nuclear program, as Tanja Kuchenbecker reports from Belfort.
Nuclear power, that is France’s version of the energy transition and its answer to the gas price crisis. The enormous increase in electricity and heating bills is also throwing the EU’s climate protection plans into disarray. Poland and other member states are demanding that emissions trading not be extended to include buildings as planned. Yesterday in the Environment Committee, the European Parliament’s rapporteur, Peter Liese, sharply rejected these demands: “Putin and the oligarchs would be happy if we didn’t implement the Fit for 55 package,” he said. Lukas Scheid and Stephan Israel have more on the story.
Havea pleasant rest of the week, if possible, without excessive distance to your fellow human beings.
Huge potential for conflict over ETS and CBAM
The phrase that the Fit for 55 package is not the reason for high energy prices, but the solution, is almost empty. Since the beginning of the energy price crisis, EU politicians of various party affiliations have repeated this statement many times.
Not without reason: Most recently, the government in Poland had campaigned to lower the ambitions of the reform of the emissions trading system. Criticism is directed in particular at the creation of a second ETS for road transport and buildings, which, according to Warsaw, burdens weaker households in particular. Allies for a less ambitious climate protection package can be found above all in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
Concern is therefore growing in the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) that member states could water down the package’s ambitions. During yesterday’s debate on ETS reform, rapporteur Peter Liese (CDU/EPP) pointed verbally at several EU capitals, making it clear that climate protection cannot only be tackled where it is convenient.