The “Taxonomy”, the new invention of Brussel’s Bureaucrats!
While the Europeans, worried and confined, are depressed, that an economic and social crisis of unique magnitude awaits us in deconfinement, and while the European recovery plan is blocked by the obstinacy of some to put conditions under purely political and ideological reasons, what is the European Bureaucracy doing? It invented a new ‘gadget’, named « taxonomy », and for which we will all pay the consequences!
What is « Taxonomy »? A new disease? A new tax?
According to the European Commission, « taxonomy » is the « European greening tool » of the economy. Clearly, a white elephant to assess the « green » character of all human activity: the way to heat, to light, to move … This new tool will not only concern economic actors, but everyone of us: from the car washer to the airline, from dry cleaners around the corner to the construction giant industries, from craftsmen to mass distribution.
It is the result of the technocratic application by the European institutions of the Paris Agreement of RIO+20 (United Nations Convention on Sustainable Development). Definitely, we continue to encourage acts that effectively work against global warming and contribute into preserving biodiversity. However, the European bureaucracy intends to interfere in our everyday life with a punitive approach, even if it means condemning entire sections of our Economy, especially in the world of the craftsmen, the self-employed and the small businesses.
The consequences could go as far as a « life or death » sentence on your business
How the taxonomy will work? The European Commission sets criteria for all human activity, from the « greenest » to the most « negative for the climate and the environment ». A rating system that will concern both, the household equipment and the daily work of the shepherd with his sheep herd, the oil farm or the manufacturer of leather bags. The main aim of this tool is to award good or bad points, which can result in green or brown labels with significant commercial consequences. In addition, within the framework of the “green deal”, these classifications will determine new standards, as in the context of construction, which will be established with reference to the so-called virtuous products and activities.
But the punishment could go much further, as shown by the following example given to me by Luc Hendricks, Director at “SME United”, the European Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Imagine the manager of the local laundry from your street. When he wants to invest in order to expand, his banker across his home will be forced to ask him, by means of forms, for an “environmental” risk assessment, as for example if he uses chlorine products and at what rate? Why? Because also the banking agency is subject to the « taxonomy ». The agency must indicate to the head office whether its customers have good or bad points. The European Central Bank will therefore require a “taxonomy” balance sheet from banking establishments, which will contribute to their “rating” and therefore to the means through which they can receive the loans. Conclusion: the dry-cleaning on the corner of the street risks not being granted a loan or under unfavorable conditions if it is not “virtuous” enough, it may also see its insurance premiums increase for the same reasons. Bank branches and insurers thus risk turning away from numerous economic players who are insufficiently “virtuous”.
Big or small, not everyone will be in the same boat!
« Depending on whether you are great or powerful… ». Not all companies and all entrepreneurs will be equal before the “Taxonomy”. You will first have to provide an extraordinary amount of information to your banker, your insurer and the relevant authorities in order to receive any form of assistance. We can already see how the administrations will find an easy reason to refuse aid or exemptions! The exercise will be relatively easy for a large company, but imagine how the neighborhood grocer or the small taxi craftsman will react when asked to justify themselves on everything they do or buy! Already stressed by all the administrations, the boss of VSE / PME will, once again, have to spend his leisure time filling out forms and answering questionnaires.
The discrimination will not end there. We understand that it will be easy for a large Group to demonstrate that its activities are « green », especially as it will be able to globalize between those which are virtuous and those which are polluting. Definitely, this will not be possible for the farmer, craftsman or small entrepreneur.
In the standardization activity, it is the large Groups that will be favored to impose their “standards” as “mandatory standards”!
Questioned on this subject by professional organizations, the Commission refuses to give any answer, with the double excuse of the confidentiality of the subject and the disruptions linked to COVID.
A white elephant in the hands of bureaucrats alone ..!
Let’s come to the most questionable aspect of this « white elephant »: Who and how will determine the criteria by which a business is « virtuous or not. » Answer: the European Bureaucracy!
The reasons :
The Taxonomy Regulation (2020/852) totally irresponsibly entrusts the European Commission with the responsibility of adopting 7 delegated acts to determine whether an activity is sustainable or likely to cause an environmental damage. Although the Lisbon Treaty provides for this possibility (in its Article 290) to « supplement or modify certain non-essential aspects of the legislative act », we can see that we are in fact touching the essentials here!
In addition, the European Commission is preparing these Acts in the greatest secrecy, refusing to communicate the drafts not only to professional organizations but also to the Member States themselves!
Most professional sectors are very worried about seeing their activities considered in an ideological way (automobile, aviation, gas, chemicals, household equipment, livestock, leather and skins, textiles, constructions, etc.) without the possibility of real technical expertise and without remedies.
The supervision of Member States over Delegated Acts is very weak. There are simply Groups of Experts led by the European Commission (1 representative per Member State and under the Presidency of the European Commission). These Groups are just consultative and without voting rights!
Within the professional sectors, the situation is not better and maybe even worse! The European Commission has certainly consulted in all directions, but simply to ask for opinions without any feedback. The only structured consultation concerned the financial sector through a Technical Committee including the European Central Bank and the European Investment Bank. This Committee is now transforming into a « sustainable finance platform » whose Members will be chosen through a call for candidates on very subjective criteria. The recruitment of Members of this platform, which is purely consultative, is the responsibility of the European Commission, as follows, judge and party! The banking sector, a few European industry federations and, above all, NGOs are once again expected to participate, and it is no surprise that these will be the usual experts’ committees, largely subsidised by the Commission itself.
As far as standardization is concerned, there is also a great risk that the European Commission will proceed without any consultation. We have the example of the construction sector, where, for a new « construction products » directive, the European Commission set aside the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) where professionals are represented to entrust the development of standards to groups of experts chosen by itself. There is a great risk, according to professional organizations, of having standards without sufficient technical or scientific content, or simply dictated by large industrial groups.
Beyond the creditable objectives of « greening » our activities, the European bureaucracy has not found here material to lay down its law on all our activities, without any democratic control? neither by the States, nor by the Parliament, nor by the representatives of the professions, nor by the citizens ..!