“Endangering social peace”: Here is the fire letter on the EU horror list

The letter is specifically addressed to the Irishman Sean Kelly. For the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), which includes the CDU and CSU, he is involved as a so-called “shadow rapporteur” in the ongoing detailed negotiations on the EU Buildings Directive.

Fire letter from the CDU/CSU group in the EU Parliament

“Dear Sean,

We would like to contact you today regarding the ongoing trilogue negotiations on the EPBD. Given the importance of the Directive, we would like to reiterate our concerns about the European Parliament’s position and ask you to take our concerns into account in the upcoming trilogue negotiations.

As you know, the EPBD report received only a narrow majority in the European Parliament (343 votes in favor to 216 against, with 78 abstentions and 68 MEPs who did not take part in the vote). In other words, 362 MPs did not support this report or were not convinced to vote for it. to vote for the report. The majority of the European People’s Party also voted against this report.

After the critical and close vote in the European Parliament, the Council adjusted its position and weakened the demands of the European Commission. Against this background, we ask you to continue to negotiate fairly and appropriately in the trilogue, also in view of the clear rejection of this directive in the European Parliament.

Should there actually be a trilogue result, we would ask you to take these points into account in particular:

Minimum requirements and renovation work “simply not feasible” in Germany

1. Minimum requirements for overall energy efficiency: In Germany, all existing residential buildings would have to reach class D by 2033. This means that around 45% (EU Commission proposal: 30%) of existing residential buildings must be renovated by 2033.

Although the EPP was able to negotiate some exemptions for residential buildings, negotiate exemptions for residential buildings that could reduce this percentage, this is not sufficient as the exemptions are limited in time and number. This could mean a tripling of annual renovation work to around 620,000 residential buildings and potential additional annual investment of around €200 billion.

This corresponds to a fivefold increase in costs in Germany! Based on the material, planning and craft capacities available in Germany and the availability of financial resources, this is simply not feasible.

Mandatory renovation: “The social consequences cannot be foreseen”

2. Mandatory renovation: The social consequences cannot be foreseen. Renovations required for single-family homes (heating system, insulation) cost at least 100,000 euros per building. We have always advocated an exemption for all residential buildings.

This would further fuel an already heated debate in Germany, which already revolves around renovation quotas, but also the replacement of heating systems. Therefore, it is also necessary to recall the overall negative opinion of the Regulatory Committee, which pointed out that the barriers to renovation are country-specific and should be addressed at this level.

CDU/CSU faction fears “real estate crisis”

3. 15 percent of the worst-rated buildings: In terms of the value of the buildings in relation to the renovation costs, the obligation to renovate the 15 percent of the most energy-inefficient buildings in classes G, F and E is an attack on rural areas and small towns with many single-family homes. This would create a real estate crisis! That’s why we campaigned for the abolition of the 15 percent.

4. Non-comparable energy performance classes: As you know, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) scales are still the responsibility of Member States and are not harmonized across the EU. We pointed out this problem at an early stage – including directly to you during the EPP’s internal negotiations – and insisted on harmonization of these EPC scales in the Member States in order to achieve comparability.

“An action that is too drastic could endanger social peace”

The background was, among other things, the ECB’s official statement of January 16, 2023 on the EPBD, which, against the background of statistical recording with regard to the comparability of the building stock and risk management in Europe, advocated harmonization of primary energy consumption across member states, i.e. uniform classes from A to G based on energy consumption (kWh/m2).

We understand that compromises are necessary in these negotiations. However, we would like to remind you that the EPP Group has always been divided on the EPBD and the original ambitions regarding the EU Buildings Directive have already been weakened in the Member States.

Not least because the backlash against stricter targets has increased in several member states such as Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, and the issue was also a campaign issue in Finland and Estonia. Even the Social Democratic government in Germany seems to be slowly coming to its senses because it also wants to weaken the directive and significantly weaken the dreaded “renovation obligation”.

We would like to ask you to take these concerns and viewpoints into account in the upcoming negotiations on October 6th, where more political issues such as Articles 9, 12, 16 will be discussed. It is important to find a balanced solution that promotes climate protection but at the same time takes due account of the burdens on citizens. Too drastic an approach could endanger social peace and affect the public’s acceptance of climate measures. Thank you for your support and commitment to this important issue.

Jean Harris

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