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EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness visits ZIA German Property Federation’s Real Estate Day 2021

Berlin, 25.06.21 – EU Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness yesterday gave a keynote at ZIA German Property Federation’s Real Estate Day TDI 2021, alongside with major German politicians including Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Prime Minister Armin Laschet, leading party representatives like Christian Lindner (Liberals) or Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens), as well as senior company representatives.

The Commissioner emphasised the significance of the real estate sector for the reduction of European CO2 emissions by 55% until 2030: All sectors would had to contribute. “Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of energy consumption and 36 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the EU. So, we need the commitment and expertise of the real estate sector to reduce emissions and meet our goals.”

Ms. McGuinness pointed out the Green Deal, as well as Taxonomy, Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), as tools to get there.

In addition, the European Commission was currently working on a renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy: “This will step up our ambition in sustainable finance and provide a roadmap for the future. It will look at how to empower companies to move towards sustainable activities. And it will seek to make climate and environmental risks mainstream in the financial system.” The strategy would provide further incentives for better energy efficiency of our housing stock through encouraging green loans and green mortgages.”

Gero Gosslar, ZIA Managing Director, ensured the Commissioner of the sector’s commitment. “The German real estate sector already reduced its CO2 emissions from 209 to 120 million tons per year between 1990 and 2020. We are constantly working on further reductions. However, this cannot be insulating only. Digitalisation plays a key role, and our members contribute with the development of smart, AI-based solutions, for example. We will discuss some of these solutions with key EU policy makers in a panel debate 30 June in Brussels, also with a view to contribute to the important New European Bauhaus initiative.

Regarding the Commissioner’s estimation, “that we will need €350 billion euros additional investment per year just to reach our 2030 climate target”, Gosslar states: “Financial services regulation indeed is one of the corner stones of reducing CO2 emissions. As the Commissioner rightly underlines, private engagement is key to finance the transition. To allow for this participation, the EU has to provide the right regulatory environment. In that respect, we very much appreciate the intense and fruitful conversation, particularly with Commission, Parliament and ESMA. Major improvements could be achieved in the legislative pieces, such as more flexibility on Energy Performance Certificates under the Taxonomy Delegated Acts, or taking into account the specificities of the real estate sector under the proposed SFDR level 2 measures.

Commissioner McGuinness pointed out: “Achieving the EU’s climate targets is a huge challenge, but it is a challenge we cannot delay any further. We will need to work together to make it happen. So, I very much welcome the dialogue with ZIA on these topics and I am looking forward to continuing our work together.”

Speech McGuinness TDI 2021-06-24 [PDF | 177 KB]