Opening Remarks EVP Timmermans on Fit for 55 at the Environment Council

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Dear ministers,


I cannot overemphasize the importance of our gathering today. It’s a year ago that the Climate Law was adopted. We knew at the time that the Climate Law is just a framework. If we want to abide by the Climate Law, we have to have a plan that will get us to at least 55% reduction by 2030. Fit for 55 is exactly that.


Now, when the Climate Law was adopted, we were in a different world. Our world has changed on the 24th of February of this year. If anybody needed to be reminded of what we’re faced with, you just have to look at what happened yesterday in Kremenchuk, where another proof of the depravity of the Putin regime was given when he attacked a shopping mall, killing innocent people once again. This is the challenge we are faced with. And this challenge goes beyond the wish of Putin to occupy a democratic European country that is his neighbour.


He also has a wish to destroy our way of life, our values, our society, because he has an alternative vision. I think it is crucial that we understand that for the strength of our society, for the strength of our values, the strength of how Europeans want to live, we need to address the climate crisis with as much force and unity as we address the Russian aggression. This issue cannot divide us. Because division in Europe is what Putin is looking for. He’s looking for the weaknesses. He’s looking for the divisions and if you can find them here, you will certainly use them.


So, the one lesson we’ve learned from the last couple of months, is that the first thing we need to do is to rid ourselves of the dependency on Russian fossil fuels. To do that we need to do it in a consistent and future proof way. Fit for 55 gets into that direction. We will later also discuss REPowerEU that will help us achieve that goal. So that is why I believe today’s meeting is crucial.


Our task is also clear. We have it in our hands to agree on the last missing pieces. You know this has always been a tripod: CBAM: adopted, common position. The energy files: adopted yesterday, and congratulations to the French presidency for achieving that yesterday, it is a historic decision. And this is the third leg of the tripod, and a tripod cannot stand on two legs. So if we fail today, we not only you know push into the long grass, everything that needs to be done for Fit for 55. we also really undermine what was decided yesterday. They cannot be disassociated these two decisions, and also CBAM. A tripod needs three legs and the third leg needs to be hopefully decided today.


Now, the Slovenian presidency has done a tremendous amount of work and the French presidency has done amazing, amazing work in the last months. They worked so hard to find compromises, the minister has just explained them to us. And I believe that although nobody around this table will be entirely happy with every element of what the French presidency has proposed, it seems to me to be a balanced compromise that could to a large extent be embraced. And also, I think what the minister has just exposed is a clear and honest reflection of the discussions. I think everybody will recognize that what she has presented reflects the discussions around the table that have been going on for months now.


Obviously, many of the proposals today will be looked at in detail but I want to give you the reassurance of the Commission that the compromise text will, as a package, deliver what we need to deliver legally which is at least 55% reduction by 2030. So, we need to use today and to find the balance everybody can live with. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’m absolutely convinced that we can do it.


If we don’t deliver today, ambition not delivered is nothing at all. It doesn’t bring the change on the ground that we need and want to happen. And again, I stress some of you will be unhappy with parts of the package, but I urge you to look at it in its entirety. It’s balanced, it’s consistent and it is fair. We need to have a transition that is aligned with the climate law and leaves no one behind. It protects them and also that gives us the strength to prove to Putin that whatever he tries, he will not divide us. He will not weaken us and we will prevail and our values and our way of life will prevail.


Thank you.

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