EU Presidency

Slovakia took on the six month rotating Presidency of the European Union on the 1st July.  For one of the newest Member States to the bloc, this will be one of its greatest challenges as it has to address the continuing fall-out form the Brexit vote.

Speaking recently in Brussels, Malta’s deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech, spoke of the challenges facing the EU and the Maltese Presidency in early 2017.  He spoke of the need for the EU to address the uncertainties, fears and inequalities that are being felt by Europe’s citizens. On the 1st January, Malta will take over the rotating presidency of the EU for 6 months.  During their Presidency, the United Kingdom is expected to invoke Article 50 and France and the Netherlands both have national elections.

Meeting in Milan on Wednesday 16th July, EU Environment ministers will discuss how to reinforce Europe’s greening policies up until 2030. The current mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy gives a unique possibility to integrate stronger environmental and economic objectives on resource efficiency.

During the Irish Presidency, member states will discuss changes to several EU laws including the environmental impact assessments (EIA) directive. Newsflash reader s will recall that the Commission proposed changes to the EIA directive last October, which could speed up the process of carrying out an EIA. From the European Commission’s proposal made on 26th October 2012, the revised text seeks to take into account several European Court of Justice rulings, including one clarifying that demolition works are covered by the law.

Securing a deal with MEPs on the Seventh environmental action plan (7EAP) is the top environmental priority for the Irish Presidency during its EU six-month term of office that started in 1st January 2013.

The current Irish Presidency of the EU, which runs until June 2013, has taken issue with the earmarking of 75% of energy research funding for renewable energy, end-user energy efficiency, smart grids as well as storage. Leaving 15% for market uptake of energy innovations. The Irish Presidency calls the EU parliament’s earmarking for a green energy research budget “a significant departure from the spirit of the [Council of Ministers’ position] on the H2020 regulation”.