Brussels, 12 December 2019

Wednesday the 11th of December, the European Commission issued its long-awaited European Green Deal Communication.

The European Green Deal aims to reach the goal of a climate neutral EU economy by 2050, aiming for at least a 50% emission reduction by 2030 as a first step. This is not just a political pledge. By March 2020, the European Commission will propose the first European Climate Law, which will enshrine the 2050 EU Climate neutrality objective into law.

The Commission wants to decarbonise while retaining the EU industry’s competitiveness. The Commission also wants to prevent “carbon leakage”. Carbon leakage refers to a situation where the EU meets its climate targets, but environmentally damaging production moves abroad, meaning that on a global scale no emissions are reduced. The Commission seeks to mitigate this risk with a carbon border adjustment mechanism, an increase of the price of imports with a high carbon content.

In some parts of the Communication, the port sector is mentioned directly. The Commission for example seeks to oblige ships to use shore-side electricity and considers regulating the access of the most polluting ships to EU ports. Moreover, in a view to speed up the deployment of zero and low emission vessels, the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive and the TEN-T regulation will be reviewed.

Other parts underline the importance of multimodal transport; a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried by road should shift to rail and the Commission will consider withdrawing and presenting a new proposal to revise the Combined Transport Directive.

Also shipping will be affected by the European Green Deal. Mention is made of extending the Emissions Trading System to the maritime sector. Moreover, the Energy Taxation Directive is planned to be revised and, in that context, the current tax exemption for maritime fuels will be scrutinised.

Finally, concerning State aid, it is mentioned that a revision of State aid guidelines, including the environmental and energy State aid guidelines, will be carried out.