Two weeks after having rejected, to everyone’s surprise, the key texts of the EU’s climate plan, the European Parliament adopted, on Wednesday 22 June, the second version of the texts of the climate package. It adopted by 479 votes (103 against, 48 abstentions) a compromise providing for the expansion of the carbon market and the gradual abolition between 2027 and 2032 of free emission quotas allocated to companies, as the entry into force at the borders of the EU a carbon tax on imports from third countries. This vote paves the way for negotiations between MEPs and Member States. MEPs failed, on June 8 in Strasbourg, to agree on the timetable for the abolition of free allowances for industrialists, a pillar of Brussels’ strategy to reduce the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions European Union by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. In the process, two other texts (carbon border tax, social fund for the climate) had been rejected. A new compromise, bitterly renegotiated between the political groups in committee, was submitted to all the MEPs gathered in Brussels to fix their position before their talks with the States. “We found a solution in less than a week”, welcomed Pascal Canfin (Renew Europe), chairman of the Environment Committee, convinced that this new “balanced” agreement would obtain “a stable and broad vote”. The Ministers of the Twenty-Seven, they will try at the end of June to agree on a common position. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Reform of the carbon market, CO2 standards for vehicles, aviation, etc. The eight climate law proposals examined by the European Parliament Gradual reduction in free allowances Currently, the European carbon market, where trade since 2005 the “pollution permits”, created in limited numbers and which must be purchased by electricity producers and energy-intensive industries (steel, cement, etc.), cover only 40% of the emissions of the Twenty-Seven. MEPs, on the whole, approve of its extension to the maritime sector, aviation, heavy goods vehicles and office buildings. But until now, most industrialists receive “free quotas” so as not to disadvantage them in relation to imports from third countries. However, Brussels provides for the disappearance of free quotas as the imports of polluting sectors (steel, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, electricity) will be taxed at the EU borders on the basis of the price of European CO₂. On June 8, the deadlock was tied around the calendar: the European People’s Party (EPP, center right, first force in Parliament) wanted to maintain free quotas in the EU until 2034 (the Commission proposed 2035), pushing back especially the border tax. A “red line” for the Greens and S&D (social democrats). S&D and Renew Europe (centrists and liberals) had unsuccessfully supported a gradual reduction between 2026 and 2032. The new version, the result of an agreement between the EPP, S&D and Renew Europe, finally provides for a gradual reduction in free quotas from 2027 until their disappearance in 2032, with in return increased progressivity in order to satisfy the EPP: companies will thus still receive 50% free allowances in 2030. Read the decryption: Article reserved for our subscribers Europe is divided on the expansion of the carbon market Le Monde with AFP
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