PES environment ministers welcome Fit for 55 package

PES environment ministers welcome Fit for 55 package

Ministers from the PES family convened online to exchange on Fit for 55, unveiled by the European Commission on Wednesday. Once again, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans is leading the drive for a climate-neutral EU, with the support of ministers from the PES family and the S&D Group in the European Parliament.

Meeting Chair, German State Secretary for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Jochen Flasbarth, said:

“We must achieve the Paris Agreement’s targets. If we fail, we risk allowing the climate crisis to spin out of control.

“The Fit for 55 package positions the EU as world-leading. We are not only transitioning towards a sustainable and climate neutral society, we are doing it in a way that is socially just. This is important for us as social democrats, but it is also vital for the success of climate action in the long-term. We cannot leave anybody behind. We must support jobs and communities as we transition.

“Progressives are firmly with Frans Timmermans, we are pushing to realise the EU Climate Law. The situation demands constructive effort now to ensure a serious, ambitious, Fit for 55 package is adopted and implemented quickly.”

On Wednesday, Executive Vice-President Timmermans set out a comprehensive package of legislative proposals – known as Fit for 55 – to reinforce climate and energy policy to meet the EU’s climate targets. This package will enable Europe to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, paving the way towards becoming climate neutral by 2050.

While in the medium- to long-term, the benefits of EU climate policies clearly outweigh the costs of this transition, climate policies risk putting extra pressure on vulnerable households, micro-enterprises and transport users in the short run. Fit for 55 fairly distributes the costs of tackling and adapting to climate change. A new Social Climate Fund is proposed to provide dedicated funding to Member States to help citizens finance investments in energy efficiency, new heating and cooling systems, and cleaner mobility.

Progressives have pushed to ensure that the road to decarbonisation is just, with support for industries, communities and regions that are adversely affected by the transition. A sustainable future must mean a just future, anchored in the European Green Deal and the European Pillar of Social Rights and delivered through a strong recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Ministers also discussed the agenda of the upcoming informal meeting of Environment Ministers under the Slovenian Presidency in Ljubljana, including progress ahead of the COP26 and the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Jochen Flasbarth, Chair, State Secretary for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
  • João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister of Environment and Energy Transition, Portugal
  • Inês dos Santos Costa, Secretary of State for the Environment, Portugal
  • Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Spain
  • Jytte Guteland, MEP, S&D coordinator, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, European Parliament
  • Diederik Samsom, Head of Cabinet for Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, European Commission
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES