Making the EU single market work for the Green Deal

June 24, 2024

T&E's paper on how to harmonise EU regulations to accelerate transport decarbonisation.

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This is a summary. To find out more, download the paper.

As policy-makers and businesses are turning to putting the European Green Deal into practice, scaling clean technologies and their supply chains quickly and sustainably amidst fierce global competition is the EU’s next big task as demonstrated by the Letta report on the EU single market. In this paper T&E looks at the key market failures within the transport decarbonisation agenda to see where harmonisation and simplification in the interests of the EU Single Market can accelerate green technologies uptake, cleaner transport modes and help boost wider sustainability.

We propose 10 policy proposals for the next EU Commission and national governments on how the EU can simplify the rules without undermining its decarbonisation or sustainability goals. These are:

  • 1

    Merge 12 of the currently standalone national energy and climate plan requirements into the single National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) to alleviate administrative efforts and ensure consistency across interacting policy measures and impacts.

  • 2

    Simplify the sustainability reporting under both the CSRD and CSDDD frameworks without undermining its core objectives which are also a competitive advantage of European companies globally. Notably key performance indicators under EU Taxonomy Regulation, the CSRD, and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation should be harmonised as much as possible.

  • 3

    Simplifying the current matrix of EU and national funding instruments by creating a single EU rulebook of application procedures, merging pots of money where they focus on the same sector (e.g. batteries or green hydrogen for shipping and aviation) and making funding predictable and output-based. IPCEI’s are too complex and should be replaced in favour of more Innovation Fund money.

  • 4

    Standardising and simplifying distribution grid permitting and connection approval procedures across the member states to accelerate connection of net zero technologies.

  • 5

    Building a recycling single market by harmonising waste product definitions, creating recycling quality standards, restricting battery exports and simplifying transportation rules to create scale and investment.

  • 6

    Empowering the European Railway Agency to implement the Single European Railway Area Directive and the TEN-T Regulation to fast-track the harmonisation and modernisation of the rail network.

  • 7

    Harmonising rail taxation rules in Europe (VAT and Track Access Charges) to incentivise the creation of international rail connections.

  • 8

    Merging the various vehicle material carbon requirements into one single EU vehicle “ecoscore” to accelerate green steel and aluminium investments, and standardising car labels across national markets.

  • 9

    Help address the discrepancy in the sales of electric vehicles across the member states by proposing a Clean Corporate Fleets Regulation to electrify large fleets by 2030 (replacing the Clean Vehicles Directive).

  • 10

    Ensure comprehensive implementation of EU green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels provisions via a robust carbon footprint methodology (as done for batteries) and clear environmental and human rights due diligence obligations.

The EU governments should rightly turn to the effective implementation of the European Green Deal, including its clear car, truck, as well as aviation and maritime fuel provisions. But this does not mean deregulation; instead closing a number of regulatory gaps - while simplifying some of the reporting frameworks around current laws - can help the Union supercharge its green ambition, scale the new clean industries and boost its Single Market.

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