Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF)

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Paris, France

Climate Lobbying Overview: MEDEF is actively engaged with climate policy, both in France and at the EU level. Despite increased supportive communications on high-level issues such as a 2050 carbon neutrality goal and the need to transition the energy mix, the organization appears to remain largely opposed to an ambitious and stringent regulatory framework on climate change.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: MEDEF has appears to communicate mixed positions on European climate goals. In 2019, MEDEF stated support for carbon neutrality by 2050 in France via the French Business Climate Pledge, which the organization facilitated. In response to an EU consultation in 2020, MEDEF communicated its support for both the European Green Deal and France’s climate targets, but also voiced concerns regarding the impacts of certain forms of regulation to meet these goals. MEDEF’s President Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux has stressed the importance of safeguarding industry competitiveness and cost-effectiveness when implementing climate policy in Europe and France. In 2021, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux tweeted support for the rising European carbon price, however, in an interview in April 2021, suggested that further increasing the ambition of European climate regulation is unnecessary, stressing the risks of unilateral action and citing the fact that China and India are continuing to open coal plants.

On its website in 2020, MEDEF responded to certain proposals of France’s Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat, a French citizens’ assembly to inform policy to achieve France’s emissions reduction targets, suggesting that they are unrealistic and could lead to the destruction of jobs and damage competitiveness. In the same year, the Deputy President of MEDEF Patrick Martin seemed to suggest that the Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat is undemocratic because 150 citizens shouldn’t decide climate policy for France.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: In 2020, MEDEF expressed support for the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), but only with the continuation of the current carbon leakage measures in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), such as free emissions allowances and indirect cost compensation. In a 2021 joint statement, MEDEF advocated for a gradual approach to the CBAM with a test phase, which would appear to mean the continuation of free allowances in the EU ETS for an unspecified period.

MEDEF President Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux wrote a letter to the French Minister of the Energy and Ecological Transition in 2020, to request a moratorium on the implementation of energy and environmental legislation for six months, such as the Programmation Pluriannuelle d’Energie, France’s flagship energy policy to achieve net-zero by 2050. In a 2021 press release, MEDEF supported France’s Réglementation Environnementale 2020 (RE2020) to reduce the energy consumption of new buildings, but seemed to stress concerns regarding the negative impacts on some professions.

Positioning on Energy Transition: MEDEF appears to take a mixed position on the transition of the energy mix. In 2020 the President Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux signed a joint letter stating support for the electrification of transport, and in a 2021 press release MEDEF reiterated its support for the energy transition. However, in a comment on an EU consultation on the Revision of the Energy Taxation Directive in 2020, the association opposed measures proposed to align energy taxation policy with the recent heightened EU climate ambition by removing exemptions for fossil fuels. In 2021, in a joint statement from the B7 Summit, MEDEF seemed to support a coal phase-out date of 2040 “where feasible”, and advocated for hydrogen production without placing conditions on the exclusion of fossil fuels to create it.