By Alisyn Malek, Executive Director, Coalition for Reimagined Mobility
Last week was a crucial moment for the European Parliament, highlighted by votes on an extensive set of laws aimed at building momentum around Europe’s journey toward becoming the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
The Coalition for Reimagined Mobility (ReMo) has been closely following EU policymaking efforts concerning the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package, and while we are disappointed with the lack of progress made during the Parliament’s vote on Wednesday, June 8, we nevertheless are glad that the Greens and the left managed to strike down the adoption of a considerably watered-down EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) proposal. As a frustrating consequence, the votes on the Social Climate Fund (SCF) and Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) have been postponed as they are linked to the ETS vote.
‘Fit for 55’
‘Fit for 55’ refers to the EU’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% before the end of this decade and is part of wider EU plans to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050. Both targets were outlined in the European Green Deal, making them legally binding objectives for the EU. Specifically, ‘Fit for 55’ is the legislative package that follows the Green Deal strategy to ensure the green transition.
Out of the handful of legislative proposals that were voted on this week, we believe the Social Climate Fund is of special importance. The fund aims to address the social impact of the proposed new emissions trading system (ETS) for buildings and road transport. It allocates a total of €72.2 billion over the 2025-2032 period to finance concrete measures to address energy and mobility poverty, including by offering incentives to shift from private to public transport, car sharing or cycling, thereby making cleaner transport more accessible for those who can least afford it.
In response to the vote, the Coalition for Reimagined Mobility encourages all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to work together to renegotiate the terms for a more ambitious, coherent, and effective compromise agreement on the ‘Fit for 55’ Package.
When the ‘Fit for 55’ package was launched, it was determined that the proposals would be introduced by law by the end of 2022. As such, we call on all political groups in the European Parliament to maintain the momentum and commitment necessary to ensure that the legislative process still meets that timeline.
With regard to the Social Climate Fund, ReMo supports the European Commission’s proposal to provide a fund of €72 billion and calls on MEPs to ensure that the fund is not decreased to €16 billion. To achieve the Green Deal targets, it is essential that the priority is placed on providing people with more clean and efficient transport options, including public and active transport modes. To this end, we advocate for more investment in ensuring everyone regardless of income, ability, or location, has at least two ways to get where they need to go in a reasonable amount of time.
MEPs of the Parliament’s environment committee will now seek a way to move past the deadlock on these key measures, with the aim of finding a compromise that has majority support in the full parliament. Only then, can the files progress to the final legislative stage, where the Parliament will negotiate a final agreement with EU Member States. According to lead Parliamentary negotiator, Pascal Canfin, “This could take days but could also take weeks or months.”