Tuesday

13th Apr 2021

News in Brief

  1. UK reopens bars and restaurants
  2. New Libyan PM to meet Erdoğan in Ankara
  3. EU keen to end row with US on aircraft subsidies
  4. Iran says Natanz nuclear site hit by terrorism, suspects Israel
  5. Two conservative candidates to succeed Merkel
  6. Blinken to return to Brussels for talks on Ukraine, Afghanistan
  7. EU powers 'regret' Russia's silence on Ukraine
  8. Turkey blames EU for sexist protocol fiasco

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Opinion

The EU's urgent imperative in the Sahel

It's alarming that the EU is moving towards making development assistance conditional on the cooperation of third countries with its own migration objectives. This risks skewing priorities and undermining progress.

MEPs agree carbon border tax - heavy industries protected

Green groups warned that if heavy industry continues to receive free allowances even after a carbon border levy is in place, this would essentially be a double subsidy for those sectors. "The European Commission must correct this," the WWF warned.

Kerry resets climate relations before Glasgow summit

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy, was in Brussels to discuss how to tackle climate change with the European Commission. His appearance also marked a major shift in relations after the previous US administration under Donald Trump.

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Commission: Pioneering Nordics' energy mix 'example' to EU

The Nordic electricity market is an example of successful market integration plus climate action, as the share of sustainable energy keeps growing, the European Commission said. However, the decarbonisation of the transport sector remains a challenge.

EU sets out plan to mitigate 'unavoidable' climate events

Extreme climate-related events cost the EU's economy €12bn annually. Brussels aims to reduce the so-called climate protection gap - the difference between insurance protection and total losses - which is widening due to more frequent extreme weather events.

Investigation

The story of the EU's plastic packaging conflict of interests

Recycling packaging-waste is largely in the hands of the industry itself, via 'Green Dot' organisations. This creates a conflict of interest - because the industry benefits from the sale of as many individual bottles, wrappers, cans and trays as possible.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

EU pushes WTO reform and Paris agenda in new trade plan

The bloc's new trade strategy proposes making respect for the 2015 Paris Agreement an "essential element" of future trade agreements. Reform of the World Trade Organization is also a priority for the coming decade.

EU opts to protect gas in energy treaty reform

The EU's proposal for reform of the controversial energy charter treaty pushes for a 10-year phase-out for protection of fossil-fuel investments. But gas gets a more lenient treatment.

Feature

Adriatic Sea 'risks turning into a water desert'

The Adriatic Sea risks turning into a water desert, experts warn. Overfishing, bottom trawling, pollution, and climate change are seriously threatening the biodiversity of the Adriatic.

First look at EU's new '21st Century Bauhaus' project

The European Commission unveiled its plans for the 'New European Bauhaus' initiative - an environmental, economic and cultural project whose aim is to design "future ways of living" in a sustainable manner.

EU's 2021 fishing quotas to exceed scientific advice

EU minister for fisheries have agreed on fishing opportunities for 2021, with provisional quotas for the fish stocks shared with the UK. However, experts warned that some of these quotas will lead to overfishing "with detrimental effects on fish populations".

New EU rules for energy-project funding to keep fossil gas

The European Commission will unveil a reform of EU criteria for picking energy infrastructure projects for financial support - with a particular focus on hydrogen. However, green groups have warned of the risks of not excluding fossil fuels.

EU leaders agree on 55% climate target for 2030

After hours of negotiations, EU leaders agreed to increase the bloc's emission-reduction target to 55 percent by 2030. But Poland and Hungary made sure that member states give the final green light to future climate legislation by unanimity.

EU commission wants 30 million electric cars by 2030

The EU's new mobility strategy aims to reduce transport's carbon footprint by 90 percent by 2050 - with the electrification of road transport, the use of biofuels and more high-speed rail traffic. But no ban on short-haul flights.

Denmark to stop North Sea oil drilling in 2050

Denmark's decision to put a deadline on all oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, as part of the country's plan to phase out fossil fuels by 2050, is expected to put pressure on the UK and Norway.

EU Commission could pull out of controversial energy treaty

Brussels is now considering withdrawal from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty, if negotiations to modernise it fail. A leaked European Commission proposal, dated October, revealed that loopholes remain regarding the protection of fossil-fuel investment.

EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target

Emissions regulated under the EU's carbon market fell by 9.1 percent in 2019, although aviation emissions continued to increased. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to lead to "an unprecedented fall in emissions" in 2020.

Opinion

If EU is serious, it should use more US liquified gas, not less

You are not likely to hear this story, because it does not fit into the environmental activist or media narrative about American clean energy and will come as a shock to the most enthusiastic boosters of the Paris agreement.

Exclusive

Italian energy giant director advising EU foreign policy chief

Italian multinational oil and gas company ENI has a board member advising the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell. The European Commission appears to have been kept in the dark over the affair until NGOs starting asking questions.

Watchdog slams Commission on BlackRock 'green rules' deal

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, concluded the European Commission did not adequately assess potential conflict of interests when it granted a contract to the US giant BlackRock, a global investment manager, to work on environmental rules for banks.

EU air quality improves, but pollution levels still high

The last decade has seen air quality improvements across the continent, but many European citizens are still exposed to illegal and dangerous levels of pollution, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency.