Issue 40

March 2015

The review of the EU’s nature laws now underway should not lead to their being weakened, European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans told MEPs on 9th of March.  Mr.

The European Commission will follow up on progress made on the EU’s energy union strategy annually, European Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič said infront of Parliament on the 25th of February. Mr Šefčovič said he would start developing “a robust governance framework”, adding that the first ‘state of the energy union’ report would be presented before the end of this year. Mr. Šefčovič, who is in charge of the energy union, said the eagerly awaited strategy was “the most ambitious European energy project since the Coal and Steel Community”.

A new directive granting Member States the right to ban a GMO or a group of GMOs has been approved on 2nd of March in the Competitiveness Council meeting after being approved by the EU Parliament earlier in January 2015.

The European Commission has told EU member states that it will not shy away from taking legal action if they do not step up implementation of water protection measures.

Energy efficiency and renewables have been reintroduced as priorities for heads of state and government talks on the EU energy union, after energy ministers said these should not be overlooked.

At a meeting last Thursday a number of energy ministers criticized the lack of prominence for energy efficiency in an earlier draft European Council outcome. These included ministers from Germany, France, Spain, the UK and the Czech Republic, sources said.

Environment ministers from the European Union member states adopted on Friday (6 March) an official EU emissions reduction pledge to be presented at United Nations climate talks in Paris at the end of the year.

The EU's official contribution will be a target of a 40% cut in emissions by 2030, compared to levels emitted in 1990. The target has to be achieved domestically rather than through offsets that allow member states to buy into carbon-cutting schemes outside Europe.

The European Commission’s proposal to regulate methane under the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive should be binned, according to MEP Jan Huitema of the liberal ALDE group.

He also stated that the 27% reduction target proposed for ammonia for 2030 relative to 2005 levels should be watered down, while an interim target for ammonia emissions in 2025 should be scrapped.