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Brussels, Belgium
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Climate Lobbying Overview: BusinessEurope has predominantly opposed EU climate policy ambition since 2015, and, despite some increased positive communication concerning the transition of the energy mix in 2020-21, appears to continue to lobby against various aspects of increased climate policy stringency proposed under the EU Green Deal and the Fit for 55 package.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: BusinessEurope appears to be supportive in its top-line messaging on climate policy with major exceptions. It has stated support for net-zero emissions in the EU, but has regularly associated this with a timeline of “around mid-century”, rather than by 2050 specifically, in position papers, leadership messaging and organizational messaging in 2020-21. BusinessEurope supported a “robust regulatory framework” for industry in a February 2021 position paper, but in a June 2021 newsletter it advocated that the EU’s Fit for 55 package should preserve competitiveness and avoid putting "disproportionate extra burden on companies’ shoulders.” In a letter to the President of the European Council in March 2021, the Director General Markus J. Beyrer and the President Pierre Gattaz stated that policymakers should “avoid over-regulation” in reaching the EU’s policy goals. The association also has repeatedly stressed the risk of carbon leakage and the impacts on competitiveness of the EU’s long-term climate ambition in position papers, directly with policymakers and leadership messaging in 2020-21.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: BusinessEurope does not seem to support ambitious climate regulation in the EU. The association did not appear to support raising the ambition of the EU’s 2030 Climate Target to 55% in February 2021 position paper which suggested that 2030 is too early for nascent technologies to be rolled out commercially. BusinessEurope also raised concerns regarding the impact assessment on which the target is based in response to an EU public consultation in June 2020. Since 2013, BusinessEurope has directly lobbied policymakers in opposition to ambitious reforms to the European Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS). In a letter to the President of the European Commission in June 2021 the Director General Markus J. Beyrer advocated against all reforms to the policy to bring it in line with the EU’s net zero goal, apart from the Linear Reduction Factor, which he supported being “maintained as the primary lever to increase ambition.” The association also did not support the full inclusion of the aviation and shipping sectors in the EU ETS, stating preference for global regulations for shipping and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) scheme in a March 2021 position paper. BusinessEurope’s leadership team has consistently supported the implementation of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) alongside current carbon leakage protection measures in the EU ETS in 2021, a position which is misaligned from the European Commission. However, in a letter to the President of the European Commission in June 2021, the Director General conceded that protection measures could be phased out when “a global level-playing field is reached or fully effective alternative arrangements are in place.”

BusinessEurope stated support for energy efficiency legislation for buildings in the EU in a position paper in February 2021, but did not support increasing the target in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), nor caps on energy usage. In July 2021, the Director General Markus J. Beyrer suggested that the revision of the EED should focus on reduction of GHG emissions which “no longer is equivalent with the reduction of total energy usage.” In a February 2021 position paper, the association did not support increasing renewable energy targets for Member States and advocated for a technology neutral approach. BusinessEurope supported sustainable aviation fuel mandates on the condition that they are only introduced in the medium term, in a mature market with the “right conditions” in a March 2021 position paper.

Positioning on Energy Transition: BusinessEurope seems to take a mixed position on the transition of the energy mix. In May 2021, the association supported the EU’s Sustainable Mobility Strategy in a position paper, and was in favor of increasing the ambition of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) regulation in an October 2021 position paper to improve charging infrastructure and decarbonize transportation with renewable energy. In response to an EU public consultation in June 2021, BusinessEurope supported the revision of the Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Package and increased renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production, and advocated for a market-based and technology neutral approach. However, in March 2021 position paper BusinessEurope opposed the inclusion of a fuel tax for aviation and shipping in the Energy Taxation Directive (ETD) reform, and in response to an EU consultation in October 2020 supported maintaining current energy tax exemptions in the ETD.