EU takes the lead on climate protection: can it work?

After months of wrangling, the EU Commission has presented its "Fit for 55" package - the most comprehensive climate legislation project worldwide to date. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Commentators welcome the plans but stress that even a concerted fight against global warming is no guarantee of success.

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Sydsvenskan (SE) /

Set the bar as high as possible

Sysdsvenskan sees the climate package as at least a step in the right direction:

“Environmental organisations and climate researchers are already warning that the measures won't be enough. But despite everything the package is a step forward and can be built on. ... Now the climate package must be put through its paces and supported. There is a chance to set the bar as high as possible for the coming decades. All those involved must understand the gravity of the situation - and assume responsibility.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Take carbon leakage seriously

Handelsblatt notes that the Commission has yet to find satisfactory answers to two crucial questions:

“How are energy-intensive products from Europe to remain competitive on the international market? And if the EU abandons fossil fuels, how does it intend to prevent oil prices from falling elsewhere as a result and consumption from rising accordingly? These questions are being discussed under the heading of 'carbon leakage' - a debate that needs to be conducted far more broadly. For in the worst case Europe's clean climate policy will only outsource the dirty part of the economy to other regions of the world. This would not help the climate, and the EU would be a leader without a following.”

Postimees (EE) /

Eastern Europe facing drastic cuts

Postimees fears that the planned measures will hit the member states in Eastern Europe harder

“because there, the share of fossil fuels in the economy is larger and the standard of living lower than in Western Europe. This means that work has to be done on two fronts at the same time - domestically and in Europe. Just sitting back and doing nothing will not make the changes avoidable. ... The most serious aspect of the climate package is that we'll be forced to change our daily habits. To what extent we use (public) transport, what we eat and in which house we live - in the past these were private matters. Now they threaten to become part of politics.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Use this opportunity

Hospodářské noviny defends the EU package against criticism from the newer EU members:

“Yes, the extent to which member states are prepared for the green transformation varies greatly. But several special funds have also been set up so that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe can catch up with their western neighbours. Billions of euros are to be made available to the Czech Republic over the next ten years for investments in climate protection measures. . ... We now have the chance to take responsibility for our contribution to the climate crisis and at the same time improve the quality of life for many people. There will probably never be more favourable conditions for this.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Megalomaniacal and unjust

De Telegraaf calls on Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to resist:

“Megalomaniac European climate plans hang over citizens like a storm cloud. .. Unelected Brussels bigwigs have put together a package of measures that will force costs on consumers and businesses. ... The assumption that the citizen is the biggest polluter is not true. It is above all the energy sector and heavy industry. This must be taken into account when splitting the bill. The burden is now disproportionately on the citizen. ... Reason enough for the new government not to behave again like the best boy in class when it comes to Brussels' climate plans.”