Austria welcomes Commission’s ‘Fit for 55’ climate package

Austria plans on becoming carbon neutral by 2040. [EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ]

A number of Austrian politicians have praised the EU climate package for its ambitious goals on emission trading, energy taxation and measures to mitigate the social effects of the green transition.

“Our goal as the European Union must be to be at the forefront in climate protection,” Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler said, adding that “the Commission’s initiative brings us one step closer to this goal.”

Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler was especially pleased that the Commission included some of Austria’s suggestions in the proposal, such as plans to phase out petrol cars or the taxation of kerosene.

“It is highly pleasing that these suggestions were taken seriously and are reflected in the package,” Gewessler said.

Industry associations and civil society groups meanwhile both criticised the proposal, but for different reasons. Industry groups said that the Fit for 55 Package would overburden Austrian companies and would lead to a decline in foreign direct investments. Meanwhile Austrian climate protection NGO Global 2000 called the package “toothless.”

Austria plans on becoming carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years earlier than under the Commission’s plan. But the Alpine Republic still has some way to go. One of the biggest hurdles for the green transition is the country’s transport sector, which has seen its greenhouse gas emissions risen by 74.4% since 1990.

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