30th Jun 2022

MEPs host aviation lobby dinner on eve of climate vote

  • Critics say some airlines are pushing a vision of the green transition that will not help the planet (Photo: Zach Stern)
Listen to article

Key liberal and centre-right MEPs have organised a dinner with aviation lobbyists on the eve of a crucial plenary vote on climate change.

The move comes as industry lobbyists intensify their efforts to influence European lawmakers on a wide package of reforms that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • Emailed invitation was sent to other MEPs on 31 May 2022 (Photo: EUobserver)

Both MEPs, German liberal Jan-Christoph Oetjen and Romanian centre-right Marian-Jean Marinescu, appear to be easing those interests.

The two have organised a closed-door dinner event inside the European Parliament restaurant in Strasbourg on Monday (6 June) with Airlines for Europe (A4E).

The following day, lawmakers are set to vote on climate policies that directly affect the aviation industry.

A4E represents Europe's largest airlines, whose combined fleet represents over 70 percent of European air traffic. Last year, it spent up to €1.2m lobbying the EU.

Marinescu is the main centre-right (European People's Party, EPP) voice in the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism.

And Oetjen is a leading MEP working on the EU emissions trading system, a policy seen as vital in combating climate change.

"The aviation industry is fully embracing the green transition," says Oetjen, in a dinner invitation email seen by EUobserver.

Oetjen says the feast will "facilitate a frank discussion" on the revision of the EU ETS for aviation as well as the future of Corsia, the UN's aviation offsetting scheme.

Neither responded to emailed questions on the dinner, associated costs, and why it is off limits to the public when a debate and vote on those very same issues will take place the following day in the plenary.

A recent study by the Transport & Environment, a campaign group, said that some of the EU's largest airlines are in fact lobbying to weaken EU's climate laws.

Yet the same airlines claim they will meet net zero emissions by 2050.

But their study found that lobbying by Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia and Aer Lingus seeks "to let up to 72 percent of EU aviation emissions off the hook."

Both Lufthansa and Air France are A4E members.

Jo Dardenne, an aviation expert at Transport & Environment, said the airlines are in fact trying to water down EU plans to increase the use of cleaner jet fuels.

"The aviation industry is also trying to get an exemption on the pricing of their pollution on long-haul flights," she said, in an email.

Dardenne said the industry should instead be supporting the extension of the EU ETS to departing flights and put an end to unnecessary subsidies.

"No airline should be taken seriously if it continues to say that ICAO's cheap and ineffective offsetting scheme can solve their climate problem," she also said.

As for the wider issue of industry lobbying, it has only intensified, said Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout.

"There is no shame anymore. I mean, they don't even hide it," he said of the scheduled dinner with A4E in Strasbourg.

"I am astonished that they don't even hide the way they listen to the lobby," he said.

The plenary in Strasbourg on Tuesday will debate and vote on the EU Emissions Trading System for aviation, as well as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.

What's in the EU's second 'Fit for 55' package?

The European Commission is expected to unveil the second part of the 'Fit for 55' package – including proposals for joint gas-purchases, improving buildings' energy performance, boosting green mobility, and mitigating the impact of the transition on poor households.


Why the EU delay on supply chains? Corporate lobbying

EU legislation to clean up supply chains and corporate governance has been delayed after fierce industry lobbying. Voluntary commitments have repeatedly failed, now it is time for decisive regulatory action.


Big corporations' fresh lobbying push for a new EU legal regime

Under the influence of another intense lobby campaign, EU civil servants are drafting policy options which would grant big business new legal privileges, a push that would enable industry to bypass national courts when settling disputes with EU member states.


Taxonomy and Ukraine on top This WEEK

MEPs will vote on an objection to the EU Commission's proposal to classify, temporarily, gas and nuclear energy investment as 'green', under the so-called taxonomy. Meanwhile, EU finance ministers are expected to approve Poland's recovery plan.


The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. New president for European Committee of the Regions
  2. Gas flows from Spain to Morocco, after Western Sahara row
  3. BioNTech, Pfizer test 'universal' coronavirus vaccine
  4. UK sanctions second-richest Russian businessman
  5. Hungary permits emergency supervision of energy firms
  6. Bulgaria expels 70 alleged Russian spies
  7. EU Commission told to improve CAP data analytics
  8. Scotland pushes for second independence vote in 2023

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. Nato expands and reinforces on Russian flank
  2. EU Commission says it cannot find messages with Pfizer CEO
  3. EU ministers sign off on climate laws amid German infighting
  4. EU presidency still looking for asylum relocation pledges
  5. Finland and Sweden to join Nato, as Erdoğan drops veto
  6. The euro — who's next?
  7. One rubicon after another
  8. Green crime-fighting boss urgently required, key MEP says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us