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EU ETS surrender deadline extension

Some ERA airline members are currently facing difficulties in meeting the EU ETS surrender deadline. Therefore, ERA has contacted DG CLIMA and has received the following response:

“The Commission does not plan to propose to open up the legal provisions that would need to be changed in order to postpone the compliance deadline for the ETS obligation of 30 April, which is set in the ETS Directive.

In the context of the overall COVID-19 crisis situation, we fully understand the concerns you have regarding the challenging situation, which companies face everywhere. The Commission services are constantly monitoring the situation with regard to the deadline of 30 April for compliance with the ETS.

In respect of the EU ETS, most operators have enough allowances for compliance. This may be because they have sufficient free allocation, or because they over the past 12 months have planned ahead and acquired any needed allowances in view of the well-known compliance date of 30 April.

It is of course possible that some companies that may not have planned their compliance in time, and rather had foreseen to buy allowances for compliance at a late stage in March/April, may be in a challenging situation.

Nevertheless, the EU ETS is an essential building block of the EU’s climate action and it is also an important market in financial instruments, governed by a set of rules that need to be respected in order for the system to be credible both in the short term and in the long term. This credibility is of major importance to all operators covered by the ETS, especially in terms of the predictability they need (now more than ever) for their long-term investment, as it is for the financial market.

To this end, timely and certain compliance, by surrendering allowances by 30 April is a key legal obligation. A large number of operators have already complied with their legal obligations by surrendering the amount of allowances corresponding to their emissions. Any proposal to change legal obligations at this stage would create an unequal situation across the EU.

Finally, just to recall, change of the compliance date in the ETS Directive would also be extremely difficult procedurally. It would first need a formal proposal by the Commission, and then adoption by the Council and the European Parliament. Besides being practically impossible to do in the little time available, it is also far from sure that such a proposal would be adopted. We are aware that many Member States do not wish to modify the compliance date, while very few have indicated such a wish. Moreover, given the very strong support in the European Parliament to keep up an ambitious climate agenda also in the post-COVID-19 recovery, it would be far from sure that such a proposal would be accepted there.”