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This briefing is second in a series on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), which addresses the key aspects that (in)directly affect businesses both within and outside the EU, explore its interplay with the existing legislation in Germany and examine interactions with other  recently adopted acts of EU legislation (e.g., EUDR and CSRD), which partially establish overlapping obligations.

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Go green go

13.05.2024

Sustainability and competition law has been a hotly debated topic. While some competition authorities have dedicated specific guidelines for cooperations among competitors in the name of sustainability, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has been adamant that it will adopt a case-by-case approach and that guidance can only be derived from specific precedents. It has continuously invited companies to bring forward specific cases - and sometimes the president of the FCO, Andreas Mundt, jokingly even questioned whether there was really such a big need for guidance given the low numbers of precedents on which the FCO‘s position was actively requested. Last week, the FCO finally had another chance to provide its assessment and expressed its support for a project introducing a reusable system in the plant trade sector to reduce plastic waste (see press release).

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This briefing is the first in a series on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) that BLOMSTEIN will be publishing over the coming weeks. We will address the key aspects that (in)directly affect businesses both within and outside the EU, explore its interplay with the existing legislation in Germany (LkSG) and examine interactions with other acts recently adopted EU legislation (e.g., EUDR and CSRD) which partially set overlapping obligations.

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As announced mid-January, BLOMSTEIN is publishing a series of briefings introducing into European and German legal defence matters. In our last briefing, we discussed the relevance of merger control in the European consolidation of the defense industry.

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) represents a pivotal shift in the European Union's approach to mitigating climate change by imposing a carbon price on imports of certain goods from outside the EU. It aims to prevent carbon leakage by ensuring that ambitious climate efforts within the EU do not lead to the relocation of carbon-intensive production to countries with less stringent emissions standards. The CBAM is designed to complement the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) by applying a similar carbon cost to imports, thus leveling the playing field for EU producers.

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On December 12, 2023, an agreement was reached in the European Parliament on a draft of the EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), paving the way for its timely adoption. This raises the threat of further regulatory obligations for companies that produce with critical raw materials.

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BLOMSTEIN hat Fastned bei dem erfolgreichen Angebot im Rahmen der Autobahnlose-Ausschreibung beraten. Die Autobahn GmbH hat am 9. Februar 2024 den Zuschlag auf das Angebot von Fastned in dem bereits 2021 eingeleiteten Vergabeverfahren erteilt. Fastned wird im Rahmen des Deutschlandnetzes in den nächsten Jahren an 34 Standorten an unbewirtschafteten Autobahnraststätten Schnellladeinfrastruktur errichten. Der Autobahnlose-Ausschreibung kommt eine maßgebliche Bedeutung für die Entstehung eines flächendeckenden Schnellladenetzes zu.

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As announced last week, BLOMSTEIN is publishing a series of briefings introducing into European and German legal defence matters. In preparation for the new year, our defence team got together and identified the topics that we believe will be relevant for companies in the security and defence industry in the EU and Germany in international trade law, ESG, antitrust law and public procurement law:

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Das neue Jahr hat einige Neuerungen im Energie- und Stromsteuerrecht gebracht. Das besonders stromintensive produzierende Gewerbe kann angesichts der gestiegenen Strompreise nun von einer deutlichen Steuerentlastung (in Form einer erhöhten Entlastung) profitieren. Im Gegenzug wurde der Spitzenausgleich im Energie- und Stromsteuerrecht abgeschafft, der aber ohnehin nur große Industriekonzerne begünstigte. Die neu eingeführte Stromsteuerentlastung betrifft dagegen gerade auch den Mittelstand. Außerdem sind die Steuerentlastungen für die Kraft-Wärme-Kopplung und die Steuerbegünstigungen für Strom aus bestimmten Biomassen sowie aus Klär- und Deponiegas weggefallen. Schließlich wurde die Meldeschwelle für Unternehmen, die Beihilfen in Form von Vergünstigungen bei der Energie- und Stromsteuer erhalten, gesenkt. Diese Neuerungen werden im Folgenden erläutert.

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Seit dem 1. Januar 2023 ist das deutsche Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz (LkSG) in Kraft. Bisher betraf es inländische Unternehmen mit mindestens 3.000 Mitarbeitenden. Ab dem 1. Januar 2024 erweitert sich der Anwendungsbereich auf Unternehmen mit mehr als 1.000 Beschäftigten. Der Kreis betroffener Unternehmen wird damit erheblich größer. Für neu betroffene Unternehmen haben wir die zentralen Pflichten des LkSG im Überblick zusammengenfasst, die unmittelbar seit Anfang Januar 2024 gelten. Außerdem geben wir einen Ausblick auf die neusten Entwicklungen zu dem geplanten EU-Lieferkettengesetz.

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The German Federal Government and the European Union have recently announced further steps to promote the expansion of the European and global green hydrogen economy. To this end, they will provide financial support totaling to over one billion euro in two separate funds: the Innovation Fund by the European Union (EUR 800 million) and the PtX Development Fund financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (EUR 270 million). Both sources of funding are now open for participation, with deadlines for application expiring on 1 March 2024 (PtX Development Fund) and 8 February 2024 (Innovation Fund Auction).

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