EU political party chiefs to tackle ETS reform limbo next week

Published 17:02 on January 22, 2016  /  Last updated at 11:04 on January 28, 2016  /  EMEA, EU ETS  /  No Comments

EU political party leaders will meet next week to resolve a procedural bunfight over which parliamentary committee will control the EU ETS reform file, following months of deadlock that has delayed work on the bill.

(Amends original story which incorrectly referred to the Innovation Fund as the ITRE’s target for exclusive competence)

EU political party leaders will meet next week to resolve a procedural bunfight over which parliamentary committee will control the EU ETS reform file, following months of deadlock that has delayed work on the bill.

The so-called Conference of Presidents will meet on Jan. 28 to decide how the Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) or industry committee (ITRE) will work together on the proposal.

MEPs from the cross-party bodies have wrangled since last September over which should take charge. ENVI lawmakers earlier this month dismissed an offer from ITRE to let the latter have competence over the portion of the bill concerning the EU’s Modernisation Fund.

“The ITRE chair (Poland’s Jerzy Buzek) sent his letter to the presidents but only asking for exclusive competence over the Modernisation Fund. ENVI also sent comments, indicating they may be willing to share competence over some issues but they refuse to give away any exclusive competence,” a parliamentary source said.

ITRE had initially been seeking to also take charge of carbon leakage issues and the Innovation Fund.

Most legislative proposals are dealt with by one committee, which agrees on amendments that are eventually voted on by the whole parliament. Other committees can suggest their own changes.

The Conference of Presidents features political heavyweights such as Parliament President Martin Schulz – who some are speculating may run for the chancellorship of Germany next year – and former Belgium PM Guy Verhofstadt, as well as several career Euro-politicians such as Gianni Pittella and Nigel Farage.

Senior MEPs from both committees met separately with lobbyists over the past two weeks as they continue to gather feedback over the European Commission proposal. ENVI has also scheduled its first public hearing for Feb. 18.

FACTFILE:

  • Sharing competence increases the odds of delay as work is re-scheduled, and the bill may require 2/3 majorities from both bodies
  • Both committees are cross-party but ENVI has a record of more climate ambition and directly hears from more experts on climate science
  • Parliament and member states must ultimately agree for the bill to be made law
  • ENVI has revised its draft timetable to extend work by three months, though parliamentary sources say the plan is still subject to change:
Hearing 18 February 2016
Deadline for sending PR to translation 20 May 2016
Consideration of draft report 15-16 June 2016
Deadline for tabling amendments 21 June 2016, 12:00
Consideration of amendments 8 Sep. 2016
Vote in ENVI 8 Dec. 2016
Vote in Plenary TBC – indicative February 2017

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

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