EU2016.nl – Dutch Presidency of the European Union gets underway
The Netherlands took over the 6-month rotating Presidency of the European Union this week from Luxembourg. The next 6 months in the Council of Ministers will be challenging time with the February Summit finalising an agreement ahead of the UK referendum over EU membership in Autumn. The Netherlands takes the chair of the Council of Ministers and has the opportunity to set the agenda for the 28 Member States. So how will environment and energy policy fair in 2016 against a background of the ongoing refugee and migration crisis and the threat of terror at the top of the EU’s agenda ? The EU has committed to ambitious targets for 2030 under the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September and COP21 deal in Paris before Christmas. The Dutch Presidency will need to bring forward proposals that will help implement the Paris agreement including a legal framework covering energy efficiency, renewables and GHG reductions. At the same time, NGOs are concerned that progress under the Dutch Presidency will be hampered by the effects of the REFIT agenda, an agenda driven by the need to impose blanket targets across the EU to reduce regulatory costs of implementing large swathes of EU legislation.
As a follow up to the REFIT conference on the Nature Directives, the Dutch Presidency have confirmed that they will host a Conference on Future-proof Nature Policy that will take place from 27th to 29th June 2016 at the Marine Etablissement (MEA) in Amsterdam Representatives of ENEP’s TTF on the REFIT of the Nature Directives are investigating representation at the event.
The Luxembourg Presidency succeeded in concluding the Mid-Term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy at a key time when the European Commission was reaching its conclusions on the REFIT of the Nature Directives. The Presidency was less successful in its efforts to revise Air legislation with member states pushing for the removal of methane ceilings and opting for flexible agreements rather than legally binding targets in a move that will limit the effectiveness of the proposed new National Emission Ceilings.
The European Environment Bureau has reviewed the Luxembourg Presidency now and has produced 10 tests for the Dutch Presidency that have been presented in the form of a Memorandum.
They include: -
- DEFENDING AND DEVELOPING EU ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES
- REFORMING TRADE POLICIES IN PARTICULAR TTIP AND CETA
- PRIORITISING CLEAN AIR
- FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
- REFORMING ENERGY POLICY
- PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY AND REFORM AGRICULTURE
- SUPPORTING CIRCULAR ECONOMY & WASTE POLICY
- PROTECTING THE PUBLIC FROM HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS INCLUDING MERCURY
- SAFEGUARDING FISHERIES
- PUSHING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT