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On 13 January 2022, EU Commissioner Hahn answered questions on the new own resources package, which the Commission had presented on 22 December 2021. Three new sources of revenues for own resources have been planned for the EU budget: revenues of emissions trading, of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and of taxing multinational corporation’s profits. From 2023-2030, these new sources of revenues shall generate on average up to 13.5 billion Euro per year for the EU budget.

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Just before the start of the new year, the EU Commission took a far-reaching decision: within the scope of the Taxonomy Regulation, fossil gas and nuclear energy are to be classified as green investments. Whilst the majority of EU countries welcomes this delegated act, Austria positions itself at the forefront of opponents and even threatens to sue. However, it is unlikely that the Council will block the Commission’s initiative.

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Shortly before the end of 2021, the Commission presented a number of new legislative proposals to continue implementing the Green Deal as its key issue. Particularly important measures of this latest package concern the decarbonisation of the building stock, the decarbonisation of the gas market as well as increasing transport efficiency.

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The Commission’s “Fit for 55” Package proposes concrete measures by which EU greenhouse gas emissions shall be reduced by 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 and by which subsequently the EU becomes climate neutral by 2050. AK has scrutinised the Package and compiled four Position Papers. AK generally supports the ambitious European climate policy, however, it clearly opposes the introduction of trading CO2 emissions in respect of space heating.

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AK supports the new, ambitious targets for the expansion of renewable energy sources by 2030. These targets should also be binding at Member State level since the necessary expansion of renewable energy sources by 2030 will be difficult to achieve without binding targets at all levels.
 

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Dorothea Herzele

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AK supports the new ambitious energy efficiency targets to be met by 2030 but calls for them to be binding at Member States level as well. With the proposed inclusion of the “energy efficiency first” principle in the legislation, energy efficiency could finally achieve a breakthrough. However, AK strongly opposes the proposed possibility for Member States to continue to exclude the sales of energy used in the transport sector from the final energy consumption calculation.

 

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Dorothea Herzele

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Mobility is a prerequisite for prosperity, quality of life and social participation. At the same time, motor vehicles continue to be an essential component of everyday and economic mobility. CO₂-savings in the transport sector are crucial for achieving the goals of the "Fit for 55" package.

The Austrian Chamber of Labour demands that there must be professional and financial prospects for the ones that are affected by this structural change. A fair distribution of costs and profits is necessary.

 

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Franz Greil

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AK supports the goal of EU-wide decarbonisation by 2050. However, this process must be designed to be fair and in the interest of workers (“just transition”). Thus, AK welcomes the establishment of a Social Climate Fund. There is, however, no support for the proposal for heating fuels and motor fuels for households to be included in an EU-wide cap-and-trade system in the form of a separate emissions trading scheme. This is due to the risk of unpredictable price peaks, which can affect low-income households in particular.

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Christoph Streissler

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Energy is not a resource like any other. More than ever, it is the central resource for participating in modern life. However, people who are affected by energy poverty can only use basic energy services such as electricity, heat or hot water to a limited extent or not at all. This already massively affects them in their current everyday life, but in view of the upcoming energy transition and climate change, this will become an even greater challenge for these households.

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Sandra Matzinger

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Dorothea Herzele

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On 23 September 2021, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, presented a proposal for the harmonisation of chargers for electronic devices. This proposal shall aid consumers to limit costs and lessen inconveniences. Apart from that, less electronic waste shall help to reduce the environmental impact.