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European Commission Daily News 7th June

State aid: Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on proposed draft Climate, Energy and Environmental State aid Guidelines

The European Commission has launched today a targeted public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on the proposed revision of the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy (‘Energy and Environmental State aid guidelines’ or ‘EEAG’). To cater for the increased importance of climate protection, the revised guidelines will go under the name of Climate, Energy and Environmental State aid guidelines (‘CEEAG’). The proposed Guidelines also include compatibility rules for flagship areas like clean mobility infrastructure and biodiversity, as well as resource efficiency to support the transition towards a circular economy. Interested parties can respond to the consultation for eight weeks, until 2 August 2021. The Commission has conducted an evaluation of the current Guidelines as part of the State aid Fitness Check. The evaluation revealed that the current provisions of the Guidelines work well, they are overall fit for purpose and are an effective tool when it comes to supporting the achievement of the EU’s environmental goals and climate targets, while limiting undue distortions in the Single Market. At the same time, the evaluation showed that some targeted adjustments, including simplifying and updating certain provisions and extending the scope of the Guidelines to cover new areas such as clean mobility and decarbonisation may be needed and that the current rules may need to be aligned with the Commission’s strategic priorities, in particular those of European Green Deal, and with other recent regulatory changes in the energy and environmental areas. In this context, the Commission is proposing a number of changes to the current rules. The draft Guidelines and all other information about the public consultation, including more details about the proposed changes, are available online. The adoption of the new Guidelines is foreseen for the end of 2021. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Europe will need a considerable amount of sustainable investments. Although a significant share will come from the private sector, public support will play a role in ensuring that the green transition happens fast. So we want to make sure that our rules on State aid for climate, energy and environment are ready and fit for the green transition. The revised rules will enable Member States to fulfil the EU’s ambitious environmental objectives of the European Green Deal, while keeping possible competition distortions to a minimum. We now invite all interested parties to share their views.” A full press release is available online.

EU Green Week 2021 achieves wide-scale mobilisation for healthier people and planet

This year’s edition of the EU Green Week, Europe’s biggest annual environmental event, officially opened by President von der Leyen, closed last Friday with record involvement from across the EU. Dedicated to the EU ambition of a zero pollution environment, 600 partner events in 44 countries around Europe zoomed in on efforts to tackle pollution of air, soil and water. From workshops for kids, discussions on green recovery, hackathons, clean-up actions and citizen engagement activities, the Green Week highlighted the power of small individual actions alongside the structural changes that the European Green Deal aims to bring about. Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, and Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičiusclosed the event. In May, the European Commission presented the EU Zero Pollution Action Plan laying out this vision and proposing actions and targets how to get there. Reducing pollution requires clean choices for regional and urban mobility and energy, investments in buildings and infrastructure, as well as overall spatial planning and land use. The connections between health and environment were at the centre of this year’s edition. On biodiversity and pollution, the message from this Green Week is very clear: reducing pollution from nutrients, pesticides and plastics will be a prerequisite to achieve our biodiversity goals. Other priorities highlighted were sustainable production and consumption as well as the matter of social justice when fighting for zero pollution as the most vulnerable groups are hit the hardest. The Commission and the European Committee of the Regions have also launched a Stakeholder Platform to help implement the Zero Pollution Action Plan since cities and regions have a key role to play in translating this vision into action on the ground. More information is in this news item.

World Food Safety Day: Statement by Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

On the occasion of World Food Safety Day today, 7 June 2021, Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides made the following statement: “Today we celebrate World Food Safety Day, a day that illustrates how important safe and nutritious food is for the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only highlighted the importance of strong health crisis preparedness and prevention mechanisms and supply chains that ensure continued movement of essential goods, but also the crucial importance of universally accessible and affordable safe food. Safe and nutritious food strengthens our immune systems and protects from illness. Safe food is key for food security. This past year has opened up for the opportunity to build robust food systems for the future. Systems that can contribute to support a green and sustainable recovery from COVID. In the EU we now have a long-term strategic vision for how to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume food – Europe’s Farm to Fork Strategy. It is one of the key tools we have at our hands to deliver on our transformative ambition. Farm to Fork is a unique opportunity for change. And the safety of the food we produce and eat around the world is the starting point. We are proud that our high level of protection is often perceived as the golden standard. We will keep promoting these standards globally by working hand in hand with International organisations, such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation. The safety of our food is more important than ever before and I am looking forward to the UN Food Systems Summit this September and to give my strongest support for transformative changes in the way the world produces and consumes food.” The full statement is available online.

Read the European Commission Daily News in full here.

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