May 20. 2024. 11:36

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Lawmakers reject German MEP’s attempt to kill EU green hydrogen rules

Lawmakers in the European Parliament’s industry committee on Tuesday (28 March) overwhelmingly rejected a motion tabled by German conservative MEP Markus Pieper claiming that the EU’s proposed renewable hydrogen rules were too “restrictive”.

In February, the European Commission published draft EU rules defining the production of renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO), which include green hydrogen.

The text, called a “Delegated Act” in EU jargon, establishes general principles, such as the so-called “additionality” rule linking green hydrogen production to new renewable energy installations only.

However, for German conservative MEP Markus Pieper (CDU, European People’s Party) these rules are too “restrictive” and likely “distort the European single market”.

In his motion, Pieper called on the Parliament’s industry committee to reject the Commission’s delegated act, arguing that EU rules should be made more flexible, including on imported hydrogen.

The German MEP also sought to delete a derogation to the EU’s “additionality” rule for countries with a low-carbon electricity mix below 18 gCO2eq/MJ – an exception inserted at the request of France to avoid penalising hydrogen produced from nuclear electricity.

LEAK: France wins recognition for nuclear in EU’s green hydrogen rules

The European Commission has tabled long-awaited rules defining the circumstances under which hydrogen can be labelled as coming from “renewable” energy sources. Last minute, Paris also won recognition for low-carbon hydrogen produced from nuclear electricity.

Rejecting the motion

Pieper’s motion to reject the EU’s green hydrogen rules carried additional significance because the German MEP is also the lead Parliament speaker on the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

The Christian Democrat MEP, who was first elected to the European Parliament in 2004, was able to count on the support of his German colleagues from the centre and right-wing of the hemicycle, as well as some other conservative MEPs, including Cristian-Silviu Busoi, who chairs the Parliament’s industry committee.

But in the end, unsurprisingly, committee members rejected the motion by 41 votes to 22 – a move hailed as a victory for those who denounced Pieper’s approach as “greenwashing”.

“Today’s vote […] is a great relief, despite recent attempts by Germany and some German MEPs to obstruct the EU legislative process,” said Luisa Keßler, from the environmental association Bellona Deutschland.

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