Brussels is hatching new heating and eco-hammers – with far-reaching consequences

It is supposed to be another big hit by the EU for the climate. The German State Secretary for Economic Affairs Sven Giegold from the Greens is already celebrating a “giant milestone of the European Green Deal”. What is intended in Brussels is nothing less than a “comprehensive package of regulations” to ensure “that all products placed on the EU market are becoming more and more sustainable”. So it says in plans that have now passed a decision-making body of the national governments, the Council for Competitiveness; Negotiations with the European Parliament are pending.

Many products are to become greener – more red appears in the household book

A large number of products are to become greener. A new ecodesign regulation should not apply to food and feed, medicines, plants and animals or vehicles. For consumers, the intended rules should initially be reflected in the red in their household accounts. Disproportionate costs should be avoided. But experience teaches us that when it comes to saving the planet, there is hardly a price too high for those who are particularly committed to saving the world.

“The scope of the new ecodesign regulation will be expanded enormously”, the European Economic and Social Committee stated and welcomed this development. He assumes that the new ecological requirements will ultimately lead to average savings of 285 euros per year for consumers. However, he also had to admit: “The more comprehensive requirements of the new Ecodesign Regulation can increase the acquisition costs for the products.”

Nobody has to exchange anything. The future ecodesign requirements will only apply to new products coming onto the market. According to the draft regulation, there should be “no significant adverse effects for consumers with regard to the affordability of relevant products”. However, the Committee apparently believes that the risk of higher prices is real. He called for consumers to be provided with “financial support for the initial purchase and repair of sustainable products”.

Green Secretary of State celebrates advances that no one notices

The specific effects of the planned framework conditions cannot yet be assessed at all, because they will entail a multitude of implementing regulations for individual products. “The new regulation gives the EU Commission the right to set detailed standards for sustainability in the form of ‘delegated legal acts’ for almost all product groups,” Giegold states.

This makes their effects confusing. “As is so often the case, great progress is being made in Brussels without anyone really noticing,” says the Green State Secretary happily. The Committee on Economic and Social Affairs, on the other hand, found “that the proposal for the new Ecodesign Regulation is still largely undefined due to the large number of delegated legal acts”.

Another ban on gas heaters?

“Energy efficiency first” is the motto: energy efficiency comes first. This has already put many homeowners across Europe in fear of forced renovations ordered from Brussels, and will hit national level in Germany next year as Habeck’s heating hammer.

Industry representatives are already sounding the alarm on the basis of the currently valid Ecodesign Directive, which is to be replaced by the regulation. The German Liquid Gas Association refers to the existing draft of an implementing regulation for space heaters and combination heaters, including those that run on green gas. In fact, according to the association’s criticism, he will raise the energy efficiency requirements so high that they cannot be met for these devices at all: “The current draft of the Ecodesign Implementing Ordinance leads to a ban on the marketing of individually installed boilers from 2029 – including such ones to operate with renewable gases.”

FDP criticism also in Brussels

Product bans are possible under the new plans: “Performance requirements will be used to ensure that the worst performing products are withdrawn from the market where this is necessary to contribute to the environmental sustainability objectives of this regulation.” In the ones now under way Framework conditions for the new eco-regulations are also said to be in line with them that minimum energy performance requirements for parts of buildings “may, under certain circumstances, restrict the installation of energy-related products under this regulation and its delegated acts, provided that these requirements are not unjustified constitute a market barrier”.

As in Berlin against Habeck’s heating plans, the FDP in Brussels is also resisting the eco-design project. The liberal MEP Andreas Glück told FOCUS online: “With the eco-design regulation, the Commission is going on the wrong track. Although heat pumps are a good solution for some buildings, they are by no means suitable for every house. Only technological openness enables individual solutions. Houses are different, so different technical options are needed.”

Controversial deliberations, CDU demands on the federal government

When asked, the internal market policy spokesman for the conservative group of the European People’s Party (EPP), the CDU MEP Andreas Schwab, also demanded: “We need – Europe-wide – heating solutions that are tailored to the building stock! The heating transition can only succeed if all technologies are used.” The federal government must “ensure that the limit values ​​are adjusted in such a way that gas (from renewable energies) can continue to be used for heating wherever it makes ecological and economic sense !“.

The Council’s deliberations on the new eco-design were apparently controversial. The Swedish Minister for Energy and Economy, Minister Ebba Busch, whose country currently holds the temporary presidency, spoke of a “complex” discussion. After all, according to Giegold, it’s about changing “the way we consume products”.

Employment program for tax collectors

The Greens presented the federal government as a driving force behind the project, which also provides for a digital product pass, transition periods and exception clauses for the new regulations. In this way, climate rescue should not affect national defence: “Therefore, no eco-design requirements should be set for products that are used solely for defense or national security,” says the version that passed the council.

Incidentally, it should turn out to be an employment program for customs officers, because the new requirements must also be met by imports into the EU. Giegold predicts that “a significant additional workload for customs authorities and a corresponding increase in personnel costs are forecast. When designing this, we will therefore pay attention to a low-effort customs procedure.” In general, it is expected that consumer electronics and textiles will be at the top of the list for future implementing regulations. Among other things, the regulation is intended to ensure that unsaleable clothing no longer ends up in the garbage in the future.

Jean Harris

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