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Poland asks EU’s top court to cancel three climate policies

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

Poland has filed legal challenges attempting to annul three of the European Union’s main climate change policies, which the Polish government argues would worsen social inequality, documents published on Monday showed.

The legal actions, brought by Warsaw to the EU Court of Justice in July, target policies including a law agreed this year which will ban the sale of new CO2-emitting cars in the EU from 2035.

“The contested regulation imposes excessive burdens connected with the transition towards zero-emission mobility on European citizens, especially those who are less well off, as well as on the European automotive companies sector,” Poland said in its challenge, which the European Commission published on Monday.

A second EU policy setting national emissions-cutting targets “threatens Poland’s energy security”, while a third law to reform the EU carbon market may reduce coal mining jobs and increase social inequality, Poland said.

Poland produces around 70% of its power from coal.

The government wants all three laws annulled. Each was passed by a reinforced majority of EU member states, but Poland said they should have been passed with unanimous approval given the impact they could have on countries’ energy mixes.

The challenges are directed at the European Parliament and the council of the EU, the two bodies that negotiate and pass final EU laws. A Parliament spokesperson declined to comment. The council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for the European Commission, which proposes EU policies, said it was analysing the legal actions and may request to intervene in the case.

“The Commission maintains that the measures in question are fully compliant with EU Treaties and law,” the spokesperson said.

The EU has among the world’s most ambitious climate change policies, and has urged governments to use EU money to help vulnerable communities invest in clean energy to bring down bills and cut health-harming air pollution.

A 17.5 billion euro EU “just transition fund” is designed to support communities affected by the shift away from fossil fuels, notably with help for retraining workers. The biggest share of that fund is earmarked for Poland.

Source: Reuters