Macron’s French EU presidency speech analysed by expert
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Led by Sweden, they have written a joint letter to the French EU Council Presidency and the European Commission, warning them against the planned revision of sustainability criteria for bioenergy. In the letter, they argue that it is “too early to do so” and would risk investor confidence in the EU’s energy sector. The plan that the coalition is referring to is the proposed revision of the EU’s renewable energy directive.
The European Commission introduced these plans in July as part of a set of legislation aimed at cutting the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
The countries point out that the sustainability criteria for biomass were previously revised in 2018.
They argue that rewriting the rules now does not make sense, and repeated revisions of EU bioenergy legislation would risk undermining investor confidence in the sector.
The letter, signed by the energy or economic ministers of Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, and Sweden said: “It is too early to revise bioenergy sustainability provisions and considerably increase its administrative cost.
“Such a move would put the EU’s reputation concerning long-term investments seriously in doubt and risk delaying our energy and climate transition.
“What is more worrying, the frequent revisions and new requirements send a message to investors to avoid investment in bioenergy- putting EU energy certainty in general in doubt at a time when we need it the most.”
The letter was addressed to the French EU Council Presidency, along with France’s minister for the ecological transition, Barbara Pompili.
EU’s climate chief Frans Timmermans and the EU’s energy commissioner, Kadri Simson were also copied into the letter.
France, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, is hosting a session of informal talks with the bloc’s energy and environment ministers, who will get to air their concerns at the meeting.
The letter emphasises the importance of biomass in energy production, as it currently occupies the largest share of renewable energy in the EU.
Biomass contributes to about 60 percent of the EU renewable energy supply.
The coalition argues that the EU needs to have a stable legislative framework “in order to meet the EU’s climate ambitions.”
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They added: “national characteristics concerning forest management practices, geographical location and energy production of member states have not been sufficiently considered” in the EU’s proposed new biomass rules.
Bioenergy industry leaders have also expressed similar concerns, warning of “excessive red tape”
In a recent statement, Bioenergy Europe, said: “Excessive red tape risks forcing significant numbers of small operators to switch back to fossil fuels, with negative implications for jobs and growth in rural areas.”
However, environmental groups back the EU’s plans to revise the bioenergy rules.
Martin Pigeon, a campaigner at FERN said: “Our legal analysis of the existing bioenergy sustainability standards shows they will lead to continued, large-scale destruction of forests, and this catastrophe for the climate and nature will not end continue unless they are changed.”
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