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Poland aims to revise EU green policies during Council presidency

The Polish government may use its position at the helm of the EU Council presidency in the first half of 2025 to revise some key green EU policies

By: EBR - Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2024

Poland wants to discuss a revision of the ETS2 during the next European Council meeting scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
Poland wants to discuss a revision of the ETS2 during the next European Council meeting scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

by Aleksandra Krzysztoszek

The Polish government may use its position at the helm of the EU Council presidency in the first half of 2025 to revise some key green EU policies, including the ETS2 system, according to Polish media reports.

The European Union’s new emission trading system known as ETS 2 focuses on buildings, road transport and additional sectors, and could affect the Polish economy and the society when it comes into force in 2027.

“The ETS2 system is unacceptable for Poland in its current form,” insisted Polish Development Funds and Regional Policy Minister Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz.

The system would significantly enhance the costs for the households that still use coal and other fossil fuels for heating, she added.

Poland wants to discuss a revision of the ETS2 during the next European Council meeting scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

“We should first signal the need for change and then put a proposal for modification on the table,” the minister said.

An average household that uses gas for heating purposes would spend an additional 6,300 zlotys (€1,500) for heating between 2027 and 2030 and 24,000 zlotys (€5,600) for heating between 2027 and 2035 as a result of the ETS2 system, according to Wanda Buk, former vice-president of the state-owned Polish Energy Group (PGE) and Marcin Izdebski of the conservative think tank Republican Foundation.

A household that heats the house with coal would be hit even worse, paying an extra 10,300 zlotys (€2,400) between 2027 and 2030 and 39,000 zlotys (€9,000) between 2027 and 2035, according to the same estimations.

To remedy this, Poland is looking to attempt to postpone the introduction of the ETS2 by a year or two and proposes to take into account different starting points in the energy transition of each EU member state and set them individual paths to reach specific climate goals, reported economic news outlet Money.pl.

“We still have about three million households for which the ETS2 would mean a 50% increase in heating prices,” writes Money.pl, citing government sources. Under the current shape of the ETS2, the price for emitting a tonne of CO2 by a residential building would amount to €45 over the first two years, whereas €20 is the maximum Poland can accept, another source argues.

The office of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is currently working on a list of amendments that go beyond changing the ETS2 system and include deeper changes to EU climate policy, including a focus on other elements of the Fit for 55 package.

The government sources doubt that the EU member states will touch upon the revision of the European Green Deal during the next European Council summit, which will be dominated by the bloc’s top jobs negotiations. Still, they count for a wider discussion to start in the first half of 2025, when Poland will be at the helm of the Council of the EU.

Poland is not the only country that is interested in such a revision. France eyes it as well, according to one source. Still, a lot will depend on the results of the French general elections on 30 June and 7 July.

Green parties achieved poor results in the European elections in many EU countries. In the European Parliament, the Greens are to lose 18 seats compared to the previous term, which would make it only the sixth biggest grouping in the EU House.

“The signal coming from this election is that the reins need to be pulled and the Green Deal must be revised,” one source said while insisting that first, a new European Commission must be formed, which is necessary for any binding decisions to be taken.

*first published in: Euractiv.com

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