The EU’s Fit for 55 Package – A Clean Planet for All

Part 1 of 3 – The “Package”

As the blueprint for change, The European Green Deal strives for a sustainable transformation of Europe to obtain the status of the first climate-neutral continent [1], which is put into practice through the European Climate Law (Regulation (EU) 2021/1119). [2]

Since the ECL requires all EU policies to contribute to achieving the EU Green Deal objective, the EU Commission are reviewing current EU law to assure loyalty toward EU pollution-reduction targets. This crucial environmental change will be led primarily by the Fit-for-55 Package.

What is the Fit-for-55 Package?

As the name implies, through the Fit-for-55, the EU is targeting a reduction of total Union greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by at least 55% by 2030, to ultimately reach climate neutrality by 2050. [3] This will enable the EU to dominate socially, economically, and environmentally, in the global fight against climate change.

Overall, the Fit-for-55 Package is made up of thirteen proposals consisting of nine revisions to existing laws, and four new proposals. All are at an advanced stage of adoption, except for the proposal related to Energy Taxation where discussions are still in progress. Through these proposals, the EU and its Member States will revise and update their commitments to ensure that all current and future climate-change-related policies are in line with EU and international climate goals.

The Package specifically tackles a wide variety of sectors such as the EU Emissions Trading System, renewable and clean energy, reduction of harmful emissions, energy efficiency and the protection of our biodiversity, among others.

The full text of the EU Green Deal (Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions) can be accessed here.

A Review of the 9 Legislative Proposals

The following are descriptions of nine proposals that the Commission has adopted to amend existing EU legislation to not only promote the sustainability of resources but to guarantee the urgent green change that the Union requires.

The first proposal relates to the revision of the Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) Directive. [4] Simply, the EU limits the overall volume of GHG that can be emitted into the atmosphere by EU Member States’ industrial sectors, through a ‘capping’ allowances system. Within this cap, companies may receive, buy and trade emission allowances. The cap decreases every year, and this ensures that the total emissions will eventually drop over time. The amendments to the Directive seek for an overall reduction in emissions in various sectors, of 61% by 2030. [5] Moreover, its revision will better target the issue of carbon leakage, through amending rules on the allocation and auctioning [6] of allowances among the Member States. [7]

Strengthening the contribution of the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector is the second recommendation made by the Commission. Namely, it sets a Union target for net removal of GHG of at least 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030. Additionally, the EU Forestry Strategy demands an improvement in the quantity and quality of EU land forestry. Essentially, negative trends of carbon removals must be abolished, and instead more environmentally friendly incentives and alternative practices, such as carbon storage and eco-tourism, must be endorsed.

The amendment proposal to the Effort Sharing Regulation is closely interlinked with the EU Emissions trading System and LULUF. Through the proposal, the Commission has changed the goal of GHG emission reduction for all Member States from the existing target of 29% to at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels in sectors not covered by the EU ETs. Such areas include transportation, buildings, waste, small industries and agriculture (which currently hold 60% of total EU emissions).

Fourthly, the proposal on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) [8] aims to increase the current EU-level target of at least 32% of renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix, to at least 40% by 2030. Further, in May 2022, the Commission proposed in its Communication on the REPowerEU plan [9] to up this target to 45% by 2030. It also proposed the introduction and enhancement of sectorial sub-targets and measures, focusing on sectors where progress with integrating renewables has been slower, like in transport, buildings and construction, agriculture, and industry sectors.

The Package also includes a proposal to revise the current Energy Efficiency Directive [10] (EED), by increasing the current EU-level target for energy efficiency from 32.5% to 36% for final energy consumption, and 39% for primary energy consumption. [11] Several provisions to accelerate energy efficiency efforts by the Member States have been put forward, such as an increased annual energy savings obligation; new rules to decrease the energy consumption of public sector buildings; and other targeted measures to protect vulnerable consumers.

Additionally, a new reduction target of 100% for 2035 of CO2 emissions for cars and vans has been set. Practically, this suggests that from 2035 it will no longer be possible to place cars or vans with an internal combustion engine on the EU market, stimulating technological innovation and hinting towards the Member States to better meet national non-polluting goals. From 2026, road transport will be covered by emissions trading, putting a price on pollution, stimulating cleaner fuel use, and re-investing in clean technologies.

User-friendly and interoperable infrastructure holds firm importance in the proposed revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation. Its objective is to promise EU-wide deployment of publicly accessible electric recharging and alternative fuels refuelling infrastructure in the road, aviation, and water transport sectors, promoting sustainability also in infrastructure. Alternative fuels infrastructure concerns all modes of transportation, and is based on two new main initiatives: the ReFuelEU Aviation and FuelEU Maritime. These suggestions aim to accelerate the deployment of infrastructure for recharging or refuelling vehicles with alternative fuels and to provide alternative power supply for ships in ports and stationary aircraft. [12]

Another proposal concerns the Directive on the taxation of energy products and electricity [13]. The EU intends to align the taxation of energy products and electricity with its climate policies and rationalise the use of any existing energy tax exemptions and reductions. Applying a tax on energy use will reflect a willingness to use less energy and preserve the capacity to generate it.

The final revision of the Fit for 55 Strategy is that of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). It mainly proposes measures to increase the rate of a zero-emission renovation in building stock by 2050 by modernising construction and making it more resilient to emissions and energy loss, promoting sustainability in this sector too. The new Directive would instead introduce better standards for energy performance in infrastructure with the aim to decarbonise this sector, increase the national building renovation plans through what is known as ‘Renovation Passports’, as well as create a life-cycle carbon emission calculations and final energy consumed portfolio.

Concluding remarks

There can be no overstatement of the importance of the European Green Deal, and the various movements it presents. To become climate neutral, the EU must swiftly adopt the Fit-For-55 Package legislative revision proposals, which must then be diligently implemented by all Member States. In an ideal scenario, every State would implement all feasible and essential changes to its local environmental scene through such law amendments. Achieving this will contribute to the EU’s relentless emphasis to have a ‘Clean Planet for all’.

The following article will discuss the second set of proposals by the Commission, that is, the creation of four new laws, to better meet EU’s Climate Goal.

This introductory article is the first of a three-part series on the EU Fit-for-55 Package – A Clean Planet for All.

[1] Refer to Article 2 of the ECL (Regulation 2021/1119)

[2] Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’) [ECL] establishes three principal goals – it creates a framework for the irreversible and gradual reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by sources and enhancement of removals by sinks regulated in Union law, it sets out the climate neutrality binding objective in the Union by 2050 in pursuit of the long-term temperature goal and sets out the target of a net domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for 2030

[3] This implies achieving a net amount of zero greenhouse gas emissions in all EU countries

[4] Current Directive in force – Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC

[5] Refer to the full proposal here:

[6] Auctioning describes the transfer of industrial production from countries that generate a great number of greenhouse gases, to countries with fewer constraints on GHG[6] emissions.

[7] Currently, each allowance gives the holder the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2), or the equivalent amount of other powerful greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide (N2O) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).

[8] Currently in force: Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

[9] To support Ukraine, there has been a double urgency by the EU, to transform Europe’s energy system: ending the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels

[10] Currently in force: Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC

[11] Primary energy consumption measures total domestic energy demand, while final energy consumption refers to what end users consume.

[12] These will be tackled in more detail in the following article of this three-part series on the Fit-for-55 Package, together with two other new legislative proposals.

[13]Currently in force: Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity