Construction industry not represented in “Platform 2.0”
On 8th February, the 28 selected members of the new EU “Platform on Sustainable Finance” (often referred to as “Platform 2.0”) were officially announced by the Commission services. According to its own figures, the Commission received more than 200 highly-qualified applications.The new Platform will be chaired by Ms. Helena Vienas-Fiesta from Spain’s Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores. Among the selected members are organisations such as AXA, Allianz SE, Business Europe, the Climate Bonds Initiative, Crédit Agricole, Eurochambres, the European Banking Federation, the International Sustainable Finance Centre, or SMEunited. In addition, the new Platform can draw on the expertise of 7 members of EU agencies and bodies (European Investment Bank, European Investment Fund…) directly appointed through Article 20 of the Taxonomy Regulation, as well as on 14 observers (such as the European Central Bank, the OECD, or Bloomberg). The 28 selected members and invited observers of the Platform have a mandate limited to two years.
While fully respecting the choice of the Commission, FIEC deeply regrets that the construction sector, which represents 11,1% of the EU’s GDP, 6,6% of the EU-27’s total employment, 3 million enterprises, more than 13 million workers and which plays a key role in the achievement of the Green Deal’s goals will not be represented in the new Platform on Sustainable Finance.
FIEC critically notes that many of the selected members come from the financial, banking or insurance sectors. While it welcomes and acknowledges that priority will be given to the usability of the EU taxonomy and the wider sustainable framework, it should not be overlooked that construction is one of the main chapters of the EU taxonomy and the importance of construction activities is largely reflected in the existing technical screening and Do-No-Significant-Harm criteria.
FIEC asks that the “Stakeholder Request Mechanism” be designed in such a way that the technical expertise, but also the concerns of various sectors not represented in the Platform – including the construction sector – are heard and duly taken into account by the Platform and the relevant Commission services.
FIEC stands ready to provide the Platform with technical expertise and practical insights from construction companies.
European Parliament adopts position on Energy Performance of Buildings
On 9th February, the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted its position on the proposal for a recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).According to this position – which is far more ambitious than the “General Approach” of the 27 Member States – all new buildings should be zero-emission from 2028, while new buildings occupied, operated or owned by public authorities should be zero-emission buildings from 2026 (the Commission proposed 2030 and 2027 respectively).
Most importantly, the position strengthens the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). Residential buildings would have to achieve at least energy performance class E by 2030, and D by 2033. Non-residential and public buildings would have to achieve the same classes by 2027 and 2030 respectively (Commission proposed F and E). However, the position foresees the possibility for Member States to exempt certain categories of buildings from these obligations, e.g., monuments, buildings with a special architectural or historical merit, or publicly owned social housing. In addition, Member States would be allowed to temporarily exempt 22% of their residential buildings from the MEPS.
The draft legislation will be put to a vote by the full House during the 13-16 March plenary session and become Parliament’s negotiating position. MEPs will then enter into negotiations with Council to agree on the final shape of the bill.
FIEC welcomes the intention of the Parliament to set clear incentives for energy-efficient renovations across the EU but is concerned that the proposed deadlines for reaching the zero-emission building standard and the proposed MEPS are not technically and economically achievable.
BUILD UP invites FIEC to collaborate
BUILD UP – The European Portal for Energy Efficiency In Buildings – approached FIEC for collaboration in 2023 and invites FIEC members with a specific technical expertise to contribute to their publications.BUILD UP is run by the European Commission’s European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). It is a website promoting the exchange of knowledge and good practices on topics such as energy efficiency, digitalisation, Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), or skills.
The website of BUILD UP can be consulted by clicking on the “Read more” button below.
EUROBRIDGE 2023 Symposium – Safe bridges
We are all road users and confident in the safety of our bridges. But what happens to the structural health of bridges? Materials age and degrade. Without rigorous and regular maintenance, these structures can become very dangerous to use.Recently, in Germany, a bridge on the A45 freeway (serving 16,000 trucks per day) has been closed to traffic, jeopardising the entire economy of the region, as the latter was the only means of access for companies located nearby. The additional costs for these companies are estimated at €1 million per day. Whether social or economic, the costs generated by the failure of engineering structures are always and will be increasingly important.
You are invited, on 14 April 2023, to join the EUROBRIDGE conference in Brussels, where a broader discussion on these issues will be tabled together.
A programme in English and French, as well as more information and registration details can be found at this link: Colloque Le Pont “Eurobridge 2023” programme (le-pont.com)
FIEC contributes to the Public Consultation on screening and registering asbestos in buildings
All in all, FIEC supports that each Member State puts in place an overall national strategy in order to progress towards an “asbestos-safe” future, and calls the European Commission to base its future proposal on the existing national and regional schemes, to build on existing knowledge and avoid putting these schemes at risk.The legislative proposal of the European Commission is expected to be published towards the end of June.
EU sectoral social partners ask the European Commission to effectively support sectoral social dialogue
On 8th February, FIEC – together with more than 30 sectoral employers’ and workers’ EU organisations – co-signed an Open Letter asking to the European Commission to maintain both its logistical and financial support for sectoral social dialogue committees at EU level, as well as enhancing its political support.This Open Letter comes in reaction to the recent publication by the European Commission of a Communication and a proposal for a Council Recommendation on strengthening the social dialogue in the European Union.
While the signatories welcome the fact that the European Commission recognises that sectoral social dialogue at the EU level is a key priority and EU social partners have a key role to play in the framework of the green and digital transitions, they also observe and regret that the Commission’s logistical and financial support is not adapted anymore to the relevance of the missions. On the contrary, it has been continuously decreasing over the past years.