Will the requests for an EU ‘regulatory break’ slow down the EU’s green agenda?

By Publyon Blog

In mid-May, President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen acknowledged the need to assess the EU’s capacity to handle the influx of new regulations stemming from the European Green Deal. The statement came a week after Macron’s call to introduce a ‘regulatory break’ at EU level to give industry time to adapt.

As a result, certain initiatives parts of the green agenda might face delays, with the next European Parliament elections set for June 2024. Over the course of its five-year mandate, the current European Commission presented 46 legislative proposals under the Green Deal agenda, with 29 already successfully concluded.

Macron’s domino-effect

Speaking at an event focused on re-industrialisation at the Elysée Palace, President Macron outlined the key aspects of France’s future green industry policy. He emphasised the need for a pause in EU-level regulations to allow businesses sufficient time to adapt and implement the necessary changes. Facilitating the green transition with financial support should be prioritised rather than introducing additional green policies into the existing framework.

Macron’s speech kicked off a spill-over effect leading other EU leaders to echoing his concerns, for instance,  the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called for a pause on environmental regulations, such as Euro 7, to avoid overburdening companies. Also, the German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann argued that the EU industry needs less bureaucracy to be competitive.

With the EU elections in sight, what does this mean for the post-2024 EU agenda?

With the upcoming European Parliament elections in June 2024, support for the EU green agenda is waning. EU leaders and policymakers are concerned about the impact of climate laws on citizens and industries, citing higher prices and burdensome regulations. They fear European companies will face unfair competition from non-EU rivals. Governments are therefore calling for increased support for their industries.

Germany’s refusal to approve a ban on new CO2-emitting cars from 2035 and France’s demand for nuclear energy in the revised Renewable Energy Directive reflect cracks in the EU’s climate change efforts. President Macron has also proposed a “regulatory break” to allow EU companies time to adjust to new climate rules.

The future of the European Green Deal and the post-2024 EU agenda are in question. While the European Commission plans to continue working on climate and environmental legislation, some files are delayed, such as the Greening Transport Package, and others face strong opposition, like the Nature Restoration Law. The EPP Group called for a pause on some green legislation, and Belgium, which supports a ‘regulatory break’, will play a key role in finalising pending files as it will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU in January 2024.

In the past weeks, Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans has been meeting with several EU policymakers voicing his frustration over this trade-off on climate legislation. He reminded that the European Green Deal is a package and not ‘an à la carte menu’ where EU legislators can pick-and-choose what to support and what to block.

These next months are therefore crucial for determining the EU’s direction as the European Commission has started discussions on the 2024-2029 priorities – will it continue with the Green Deal or adopt a more industry-friendly agenda? Publyon closely monitors these developments and can help companies shape the post-2024 EU priorities. Contact us to learn more and get involved.

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