TRAN MEPS EXCHANGE VIEWS WITH COMMISSIONER VALEAN ON FIT FOR 55 PACKAGE
The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee met on 27 September to discuss the Fit for 55 proposals with EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean. The Commissioner presented the legislative proposals that are most relevant for the transport sector including the proposal for a Regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR) the FuelEU Maritime Regulation and the ReFuelEU Aviation proposal.
In the debate there was a consensus amongst MEPs on the overall objective of the Package, but there were diverging points of view on the proposed measures. When discussing the AFIR proposal which aims to ensure that sufficient recharging and refuelling stations are established for electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, some MEPs questioned the feasibility of the mandatory distance-based targets for recharging infrastructure, as Member States have different starting points in their deployment. The necessity of these targets for low-densely populated areas also raised some concerns, for which they would need further flexibility. While Barbara Thaler (EPP, Austria) regretted that there were no real measures to increase the number of LNG/CNG refuelling for road transport, Ciaran Cuffe (Greens/EFA, Ireland) questioned the role of these transitional fuels, as it would promote carbon lock-in. Nicola Danti (Renew, Italy) also suggested to increase the required power output of heavy-duty vehicles chargers, to allow drivers to charge their vehicles in a reasonable timeframe.
On the FuelEU Maritime initiative, some MEPs were vocal against the technology-neutral approach that would promote LNG powered vessels as the currently cheapest option to reduce emissions from the maritime sector. Vera Tax (S&D, Netherlands) suggested that the proposal should be accompanied with incentives to increase the number of e-hydrogen and e-ammonia refuelling points in ports to develop these zero-carbon alternatives. Members also raised concerns about other proposals from the Package, such as the separate ETS for road transport and buildings. Some MEPs questioned the necessity of this measure that would be too burdensome for companies and households, with a growing risk of undermining European competitiveness. On the other hand, some Members stressed that the EU should take the global lead in the decarbonisation of the transport sector and considered some of the proposals not to be ambitious enough. In her closing statement Ms Valean defended the proposals as balanced and pointed out that the Package would have a positive net impact on both GDP and employment according to the Commission’s impact assessment.