- Taxonomy: restrained resistance from Berlin
- COVID: Most EU countries back partial vaccine mandate
- China’s concerns about Europe’s CO2 border adjustment
- G7 Presidency: uniting climate protection and trade
- Informal meetings of environment and energy ministers: more supply solidarity
- Berlusconi renounces presidency and is hospitalized
- Opinion: the ECB’s existential dilemma
The German government has reiterated its opposition to nuclear power with the German statement on EU taxonomy. Nuclear power is risky and expensive, it said. At the same time, Berlin is calling for less stringent criteria for the use of natural gas as a transition technology, for example in the blending quotas for hydrogen during the so-called “fuel switch”. The EU Commission intends to finalize the delegated act before the end of January. If there are no more changes to the current draft, Robert Habeck and Steffi Lemke have announced their intention to reject the proposal. Meanwhile, Austria has reiterated its intention to take legal action before the European Court of Justice if the EU Commission wants to classify investments in natural gas and nuclear energy as “sustainable”.
Vienna is not only taking a clear stance on EU taxonomy. Austria was the first EU country to pass a general COVID-19 vaccination requirement from the age of 18. In Germany, too, the discussion has recently gained momentum. Whether it actually comes to it, is, however, questionable. A decision is expected by the end of March. With the declining numbers, the peak of approval could have long been passed by then. Other European countries are also rather reluctant to introduce a general vaccination requirement. A partial vaccination requirement for certain occupational and age groups is much more popular, as Eugenie Ankowitsch explains.
Meanwhile, in Brussels on Sunday, some 50,000 people demonstrated against the COVID-19 measures, among them likely demonstrators from Germany, France, and Poland. They threw objects at police officers and buildings, such as that of the European External Action Service, where windows were smashed. The police used water cannons and eventually broke up the demonstration.
It is well known that Europe’s climate protection plans will also have an impact on other countries. After all, one of the goals of the European border adjustment scheme CBAM is to encourage other countries to make greater efforts to decarbonize. However, concerns are particularly high in China. Export costs for Chinese producers could rise as a result of the CBAM, which is why Beijing is likely to push harder for negotiations with Brussels, as Ning Wang reports.
I wish you a good start to the week.
Taxonomy: restrained resistance from Berlin
While other countries such as Austria, Luxembourg, and Spain reiterated their rejection of the planned amendment to the EU taxonomy and threatened legal action against the EU Commission’s plans, Germany’s opposition remains muted. As expected, the German government rejects the inclusion of nuclear energy in the taxonomy regulation. The final storage question is unresolved, and reactor accidents cannot be ruled out.
The inclusion of natural gas as a transitional technology is known to bother Berlin less, even though the German government is calling for improvements to the Commission’s proposal here. The interim targets for blending quotas of decarbonized gases (so-called fuel switch) are not realistic, the statement says. Due to the scarce availability of green hydrogen, the intermediate steps would have to be flexible during the market ramp-up.
The German government also calls for consistency in the “do no significant harm” principle. The emission limits and budgets would have to be consistent with those in other EU legislation on climate and environmental protection. Another criticism of the Commission’s proposal is the criteria under which old gas-fired power plants can be replaced by more modern ones in line with taxonomies. The commitment to a greenhouse gas reduction of 55 percent is unrealistic, according to the German government.