INTERVIEW. Anna Zalewska for AWPE: The EC plans to increase the tax on energy obtained from coal and gas by several hundred percent!

The ENVI Committee in the EP adopted its position extending the ETS to buildings. What exactly were the solutions passed?

Anna Zalewska (MEP): As we have discussed many times before, the climate becomes an excuse to speed up and close work on individual documents related to the “Fit for 55” package, i.e. the climate law. Yesterday we voted for the main ETS, from which financial institutions have not been removed and will continue to be able to speculate and manipulate the energy market. It has been extended to include ETS on buildings and cars. Then, “touchingly”, fifteen minutes after this vote, a social justice fund, a climate justice fund was voted for, which was created for those who cannot cope, being at risk of energy poverty, but unfortunately it is related to these two ETSs. In a word, the European Commission will take and then decide itself in what part of society it will compensate.

This fund will in no way cover all the costs that citizens will have to bear. Does this mean that the European Commission wants to force citizens to take out loans?

Generally, the European Commission has no money. It has indebted to Europeans all the time. There is no money for two issues, that is to repay the Reconstruction Fund – the one that we cannot get all the time – and there is no money for the absurd climate-related ideas that keep coming up, from renewable energy, through solutions that will generate costs and force companies to make huge financial outlays. The European Union sees it that way. I even joke – I also say this to officials and everyone is offended – that they walk around with crayons all the time, they draw a colorful world, and I ask them to use calculators.

What consequences do you think these solutions will have if adopted?

Of course, it is very difficult to say what, but it will have huge social consequences. As we mentioned, this is reaching directly into the pockets of Europeans, because the commission says that this is how it should be and that’s it. Imagine that now in every European country there is a manual management of the economy, including in terms of energy. In Poland, we also freeze, we pay extra, we do everything to make it easier for citizens. This is happening throughout the European Union, although depending on the wealth of the pockets of individual governments. This is either the same effect or much less in some countries. Therefore, if we imagine that, first of all, we do not help citizens, i.e. there is no price freeze, and we also increase the tax on the already high fuel prices, or the tax on heating houses and flats, we are able to imagine that Poles and Europeans simply cannot bear it financially.

Has anyone in this committee made any impact assessment of the cost to citizens? Are there any calculations?

No, there are no calculations, because it just happens very quickly, with the changing reality. We still have a lot of documents around the “Fit for 55” package that add to this chaos and this legislative diarrhea. We are talking about the regulation on methane, which document, if it continues in its present form, will mean that Polish mines will have to be closed in 2025. We are talking about the restoration of nature, where it is said that 30 percent of it needs to be restored in every European country. So we’re going to move people out of the suburbs to plant forests there? I just show an abundance of it. There are no calculations, especially since the outline of all these documents was created before the pandemic and before the war.

What are the chances that the EP will vote against this directive?

There’s no chance. Here there is great joy, applause that the ETS is expanding to individual areas of life. This is empty money that has been created. All institutions are hooked under this ETS and it is hard to imagine that the liberal-leftist majority would give it up.

This document still has to be adopted by the Council of the European Union. Is there any way to stop it at this level?

These are documents that bypassed unanimity, so there will certainly not be a majority here, but there is one document that officials are not touching at the moment and the European Commission has hidden this directive. This is the only unanimous directive on energy taxation in the Fit for 55 package. It must be unanimous. There is – please hold on – a written increase in the tax on energy obtained from coal by 300 percent, and from gas – by 500 percent. We just have to say “No”, no negotiation, no discussion.

In connection with corruption scandals in the EU structures, shouldn’t we first check whether there is a specific business behind this directive?

We are actually trying to look for various types of solutions at the moment, but unfortunately, internal bodies are needed, because there are indeed many documents in the “Fit for 55” package, if not most of them, which are certainly supported by lobbyists. I remind you of the regulation on electric cars – an absurd regulation where someone out of the blue says that in 2035 a combustion car cannot be produced and registered, and the number of electric car lobbyists exceeds the permissible concentrations in the European Parliament. This directive should certainly be checked, also by those institutions that are in the European Union. I will certainly try to interest these institutions and follow the whole process of working on this document.

Interview by Anna Wiejak

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