Sunday

26th Jan 2020

Parliament negotiators sign off on climate deal

  • The climate bills must still be approved by the full sitting of the parliament later this week (Photo: European Parliament)

European Parliament negotiators have signed off on the climate package deal backed by European Union premiers and presidents last week, setting up the bills that make up the package to be approved when the full sitting of the house gathers to consider them on Wednesday (17 December).

MEPs and the French EU presidency reached the informal agreement on Saturday morning over the last details of the climate change package.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The EU's 'Triple-20' bundle of laws aimed at arresting catastrophic climate change, aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy all by 20 percent by 2020.

However, the fine print of the deal will see the vast majority of the emissions reductions made in the developing world instead of Europe and emissions permits given away for free to many industries, a move that critics say will deliver windfall profits to manufacturers but little in the way of CO2 reductions.

Over the course of three consecutive meetings, delegations from the parliament, led by the three MEPs who shepherded the legislation through the chamber, and representatives of the French EU presidency finalised the informal negotiations on a directive revising the current EU emission trading system (ETS) - the heart of the climate package.

They also haggled over a decision setting ceilings for national emissions in sectors not covered by the ETS and considered a directive that would pave the way for the development of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), an experimental technology that could scrub emissions from polluters such as coal-fired power plants and steel mills and then store the CO2 underground or under the sea bed.

The agreement reached on Saturday calls for 300 million allowances (emissions permits in the ETS) to be awarded to fund large scale CCS projects in the EU. Monies from the sale of such permits should cover the construction costs of nine or ten such projects.

Member states had agreed on Friday to set aside 200 million allowances for CCS.

Irish centre-right MEP Avril Doyle, one of the lead negotiators, said the outcome was a "very good result and a balanced outcome between preserving the environmental integrity of the proposal and ensuring a level playing field for European industry."

Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi, another of the parliament's negotiators, had mixed feelings about the compromise: "It is a historical achievement to have emissions reductions targets for EU member states with also binding linear pathway and binding yearly limits," she said.

"However, I cannot feel completely happy, because the deal allows outsourcing of over half of EU emissions reductions to other countries."

Some MEPs on Friday had warned they would put up a fight over the dilution of the climate package, but with the major political groupings, the Socialists and the centre-right European People's Party solidly behind the finalised package, the agreement is all but a done deal.

The compromises must still be put to a vote of the full sitting of the parliament, due to take place on Wednesday (17 December) in Strasbourg and then formally endorsed by the all EU member states.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

EU agrees 2020 budget deal

EU governments and the parliament agreed in marathon talks ino next year's budget - which will boost spending on climate, border protection, and the European satellite system. It will also be a benchmark if there is no long-term budget deal.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan premier refuses to step down, despite ruling
  2. UK set to support new fossil fuel projects in Africa
  3. Leftist MEPs to visit jailed Catalan MEP
  4. Bulgaria may expel Russian diplomats over 'espionage'
  5. EU, China, others agree on WTO body to settle disputes
  6. EU Commission makes move against Poland on judges law
  7. Soros pledges $1bn for liberal universities
  8. Merkel: Germany unprepared for 2015 refugee crisis

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. AI must have human oversight, MEPs recommend
  2. Second-hand cars flaw in EU Green Deal
  3. Why do EU arms end up in Libya despite UN ban?
  4. Brexit deal to be signed, as sides poised for tough talks
  5. Timmermans urges EU governments to tax carbon
  6. Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote
  7. China spy suspect had EU permission to work as lobbyist
  8. EU to unveil 5G 'toolbox' to tackle security threats

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us