Coalition for Higher Ambition Letter to European Council

Coalition for Higher Ambition Letter to European Council

May 24, 2021


EU Heads of State and Government President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Council, Charles Michel

President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli


Letter from the Coalition for Higher Ambition on the “Fit for 55” Package

We are writing to you as the Coalition for Higher Ambition, an alliance of European cities and regions, businesses, business associations, and civil society organisations.

We welcome your decision to increase the EU’s 2030 climate target. This is an important step in accelerating Europe’s transition to a net-zero emissions economy. We believe this can only be achieved through strong legislative proposals under the “Fit for 55” Package that aim to reach the highest ambition level, both for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and for increasing carbon removals through ecosystem restoration.

If the European Green Deal is the EU's growth strategy, the new climate and energy legislation should be its engine. The legislative proposals that are part of the “Fit for 55” Package should create synergies to accelerate investments for a clean and just energy transition ensuring that no one is left behind. This transition towards a fully decarbonized economy would be a unique opportunity to achieve a more prosperous economy and more resilient communities by creating more and better jobs throughout Europe.

Therefore, it is important that the Package provides policy certainty and guidance for European cities and regions, businesses, investors and civil society while guaranteeing a strong and participatory governance framework.

Before you discuss these issues at the special European Council on 25 May, we came together to express our expectations from the Package to ensure that the upgraded climate and energy legislation increases the EU’s climate ambition to the highest possible level, while supporting a green, territorially balanced and socially fair transition in all regions.

Therefore, in light of the upcoming proposal and your discussions at the European Council on 25 May, we urge you to:

  • Enhance EU climate action by expanding the scope of the EU 2030 climate target to include emissions from international aviation and shipping, treating carbon removals as additional contributions over and above the emission reduction target, and developing emission trajectories that avoid creating surplus emissions allowances.
  • Maintain and strengthen nationally binding targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) covering emissions from road transport, buildings and agriculture. The Effort Sharing Regulation should continue to play a key role for the accountability of Member States.
  • Strengthen the Emission Trading System (ETS): The Emission Trading System (ETS) has proven to be effective. However, it should not become the only tool to implement the EU 's enhanced target and its current structure should be further strengthened. An effective carbon price will help to achieve the substantial emission reductions needed, especially for the industry, and its revenues should be used to support climate action.
  • Increase targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency in line with higher climate ambition and ensure that they are binding. The higher targets should be binding at the EU and national level and supported by strong and robust policies. To deliver these targets, it is important that the supportive measures further increase deep renovation of buildings to reduce energy needs, support the higher uptake of sustainable renewable heating and cooling, as well as demand-side flexibility promoting the active participation of end users, such as prosumers business models. These measures should be accompanied by technical assistance and training programmes.
  • Ensure full synergy between climate and energy legislation and other EU targets, policies and measures in support of biodiversity protection, territorial cohesion, green and healthy cities, sustainable mobility, social equity and quality job creation. The Commission should mainstream ambitious climate action in all of its sectoral policies and legislative tools. It is important to make full use of them in order to develop new industrial value chains as well as compact, green and inclusive cities that create good jobs in the EU, support regional cohesion and competitiveness, a fair transition and healthier, resilient livelihoods for all. We urge you to ensure that the new “industrial strategy” creates a real “climate neutral European industry” by including territorial approach and concrete sectoral decarbonisation strategies to complement this cap-and-trade approach.

As representatives of European stakeholders, we count on your leadership and determination to ensure a safer future for European citizens through well-designed climate and energy legislation under the “Fit for 55” Package.

The implementation of this package will require mobilizing investments. In this regard, we also urge you to ensure there is synergy between the “Fit for 55” Package and national, local and regional EU funding opportunities, while finalizing the spending plans of hundreds of billions euros of EU subsidies. It is critical that Member States make sure that public funds support the implementation of the EU’s enhanced climate objectives and that no public funding is given to support fossil fuels or activities that would harm the objectives of the Green Deal. The “Fit for 55” Package should send a strong signal that Europe’s recovery will be consistent with the achievement of its climate objectives.

We remain at your disposal to further discuss ways to deliver an inclusive and sustainable climate transition in Europe.



  • Bellona Europa
  • C40
  • CAN Europe - Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
  • CDP Centre for Transport and Energy,
  • Czechia Citizens’ Climate Europe Clean Air Action Group,
  • Hungary Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR)
  • Corporate Leaders Group Europe (CLG Europe)
  • Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
  • ECOS - Environmental Coalition on Standards
  • Eco-union, Spain
  • EEB - European Environmental Bureau
  • EKOenergy ecolabel
  • Energy Cities
  • Environmental Justice Foundation
  • Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF), Estonia
  • EU-ASE - European Alliance to Save Energy
  • Euroheat & Power European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE)
  • European Heat Pump Association (EHPA)
  • European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF)
  • FOCUS, Slovenia
  • Germanwatch
  • Green Liberty - Latvia
  • ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Institute for Sustainable Development, Poland
  • Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)
  • International Network for Sustainable Energy – Europe
  • Legambiente, Italy
  • Mouvement Ecologique, Luxembourg
  • National Energy Conservation Agency, Poland
  • Naturefriends International
  • Plan B for Slovenia
  • Polish Ecological Club Mazovian Branch, Poland
  • REC Albania - The Resource Environmental Center Albania
  • Réseau Action Climat France
  • Smart Energy Europe (SmartEn)
  • Solar Heat Europe
  • TERRA MIllennium III, Romania
  • The B Team
  • The Climate Reality Project, Europe
  • The Ecological Associations EKO-UNIA, Poland
  • Transport & Environment Umanotera, Slovenia
  • VšĮ “Žiedinė ekonomika”, Lithuania
  • We Mean Business Coalition
  • ZERO, Portugal