How EU Directives on GHG Emissions Discriminate Against... EU Member States and Their Citizens

10 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2021 Last revised: 11 Aug 2022

See all articles by Vasil Gechev

Vasil Gechev

University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria

Date Written: September 6, 2021


At face value, the intentions of EU’s Directives {2003/87, 2018/410, etc.} are good – limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as a way to combat global warming and avert dangerous climate change. However, the implementation of those Directives – specifically, the Emissions Trading System (ETS) – entails two paths of discrimination:
1. Against Eastern European members, since in 2014 most of them have already exceeded the 2030 reduction target (40% compared to 1990), set by the European Council during the same year. The GHG reduction results in 2014 stood as follows: Bulgaria - 47.9%, Estonia - 47.5%, Hungary - 47.5%, Latvia - 59.1%, Lithuania - 58.2%, Romania - 62.4%, Slovakia - 45.6%. Those were some of the biggest GHG reductions worldwide, much higher than the EU average of 23.9%. Instead of being completely relieved of participation in the ETS, the aforementioned EU members continued (and continue) to comply fully with the regulations, incurring substantial costs.
2. Against all EU members, as worldwide there is no matching scheme and even some of the wealthiest nations – with sufficient capabilities for environmental policies – recorded an increase of GHG emissions during the 1990-2020 period: Australia by 24%, Canada by 13%, and New Zealand by 20.8%. The statistics for developing countries are even worse: for instance, India’s and China’s emissions increased nearly four-fold. In other words, the EU is almost alone in implementing ambitious policies – respectively, incurring social and economic costs – to reduce GHG emissions.

Keywords: Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, EU Law, Emissions Trading Scheme

JEL Classification: Q43, Q53, Q57, Q58

Suggested Citation

Gechev, Vasil, How EU Directives on GHG Emissions Discriminate Against... EU Member States and Their Citizens (September 6, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Vasil Gechev (Contact Author)

University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria ( email )

Sofia, 1700


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