Brussels, 28 October 2022
MEMBER STATES REMAIN DIVIDED ON A POSSIBLE GAS PRICE CAP
Energy Ministers gathered in Prague to discuss the most recent Commission proposal to address the energy crisis. The meeting showed that there is overall support for several of the measures proposed, including the new joint purchasing platform and the establishment of an alternative benchmark for LNG. However, Member States have different views on how to implement a cap on gas prices, both as regards the dynamic market correction mechanism under the Title Transfer Facility as well as the potential cap on gas used for electricity generation. Energy Ministers will reconvene on 24 November and are expected to adopt the proposed Council Regulation then.
CARS AND VANS WILL HAVE TO BE ZERO-EMISSIONS BY 2035
EU lawmakers agreed on a deal ensuring that all new cars and vans registered in Europe will be zero-emissions by 2035, effectively banning the combustion engine. This agreement marks the first deal of the “Fit for 55” package. As an intermediary step towards zero emissions, the new CO2 standards will also require average emissions of new cars to come down by 55% by 2030, and new vans by 50% by 2030. The Commission will publish a report by the end of 2025, and every two years thereafter, to evaluate progress towards zero-emission road mobility, and impact on consumers and employment.
COMMISSION ISSUES PROPOSAL ON INSTANT PAYMENTS IN THE EU
The Commission published a proposal for an Instant Payments Regulation, aiming to make instant payments in euro affordable, secure, and without hindrance. The proposal intends to foster the development of a competitive home-grown and pan-European market-based solution to the current underperforming of instant payments in the EU. Concretely, the proposal: i) introduces a requirement for payment service providers to provide instant euro credit transfers services; ii) prohibits providers to impose additional charges for instant payments, relative to traditional payments, iii) introduces requirement for daily sanctions; and iv) demands providers to warn customers of potential mistakes and fraud before the payment is made.
NEW PROPOSALS FOR CLEANER AIR AND WATER AS PART OF EU GREEN DEAL OBJECTIVES
The Commission tabled proposals to strengthen EU rules on ambient air, treatment of urban wastewater, and surface and groundwater pollutants. The proposals are aligned with the European Green Deal’s objective of zero harmful pollution by 2050. The proposed revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives aims to align EU air quality standards with World Health Organisation guidelines by 2030 and reach zero air pollution by 2050. The revised Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive aims to improve wastewater treatment and make the sector energy neutral by 2040. Lastly, the Commission proposed to expand the list of surface and groundwater pollutants by including substances such as “forever chemicals” and certain pesticides.
COUNCIL AGREES ON STRICTER RULES FOR ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS
The Council adopted its general approach on the proposal to revise the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The revision aims to reduce emissions to zero for new buildings by 2030, and for existing buildings by 2050. To do so, Member States agreed to introduce minimum energy performance standards, aimed to incentivise renovations in existing buildings. Additionally, the Council agreed to create new categories of the energy performance certificates, corresponding to zero-emission buildings, and buildings contributing to renewable energy generation. In particular, Member States set requirements to optimise the solar energy generation of buildings.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab