Sep 07 2016

The legislators debate: three debates in the European Parliament committee and one in the Council of Ministers

Praise for clear criteria

DG CLIMA Director Tovšak Pleterski commented on ETS Innovation Fund in her second appearance in front of the ITRE committee (17:05:45, 12 July). She “noted with interest” the “guidance how […] projects can be evaluated and to have further discussion on the right balance of risk sharing as expressed by the funding rate.”

The only amendment on how projects should be evaluated came from the Greens-EFA Group. Their proposed AM 426 in ITRE said, “Eligible low-carbon industrial projects shall contribute to emissions reductions of at least 20% below the updated benchmark set out in paragraph 2 and shall enhance competitiveness and productivity. Technologies shall compete on GHG saving and on subsidy requirements. Eligible innovative renewable energy projects shall be defined in the delegate act referred to in Article 23, which will also specify a process for updating that list. Those technologies shall compete by their cost-per-unit performance (CPUP).”

Multipartisanship

Perhaps recalling the debacle over his committee’s failure in 2015 to agree on the start of the Market Stability Reserve, Federley is keen to work across the political divide from the outset to achieve a majority for his report: “Once again, I can’t repeat it enough, we have to make sure from all the parties that we deliver a majority, otherwise we lose the influence in the ENVI committee and we will lose influence in the Parliament as such. I call for open, wide and vivid debate, but in the end we have to make sure we deliver a majority from the group.” Jo Leinen, a member of the ENVI Committee from a different Political Group to Federley, also wanted to see the final report leave the Parliament with a strong majority (11:17:03, 21 June).

Small-scale projects

Three Member States appealed for adequate support for small-scale projects. Slovenia was the first country to make the point in the Council debate (20 June). Like the UK and Germany, it explicitly welcomed proposal for ETS Innovation Fund, then added, “Our experiences with the already existing fund called NER300 allows us to support the inclusions of provisions that would take into account the principle of excellence and allow financing for small projects. We therefore welcome the Presidency’s proposal. Future discussions on the Innovation Fund should therefore also focus on provisions that would allow the access of small excellent projects to financing and this would also allow a more balanced geographic distribution of the funds.”

Austria echoed Slovenia’s comments. These two countries had successfully pushed for a derogation helping small projects in NER300. This time, in the Council debate, they were joined by Malta. Miriam Dalli, an MEP from Malta’s governing party, provided further support with her amendment in the Environment Committee (AM 423).

Details on past Council support for small-scale projects were given in this article.

Several Member States also expressed their support for small-scale projects at a meeting of the (rather shadowy) European Climate Policy Group on 1 June 2016.

Appeal for transparency

Austria called for transparency in the operation of the Innovation Fund.