EU locked in furious debate as two nations REJECT Spain's energy overhaul proposal


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Amid G7 talks in Germany, EU energy and environment ministers are meeting in Luxembourg over the next two days to discuss the Fit for 55 legislative package. Discussions are set to feature talks on energy efficiency and renewables, as well as gas storage measures and other key climate proposals. Fit for 55 is a set of climate proposals aimed at helping the bloc to meet its target of slashing emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and is part of the European Commission’s European Green Deal.

But there have long been outstanding disagreements over parts of the package which are yet to be smoothed over, with feuds expected to rumble on in the upcoming talks.

For instance, there has been a back-and-forth on the emissions trading system (ETS) revision.

Earlier this month, a reform to the ETS that failed to pass in European Parliament sparked fury among lawmakers trying to win its approval.

Currently, the ETS works under a “cap and trade” principle, where a cap is set on emissions from fossil fuels that can be emitted by installations covered by the system.

Installations buy or receive emissions allowances within the cap, which can be traded.

But a change to the ETS was rejected by political groups from across the spectrum, including the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the Greens, as well as the nationalist European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR) group.

Swedish centrist MEP Emma Wiesner said: “The biggest win for the climate is that we agree on something. That will be my main priority.”

But some progress on the Fit for 55 revisions is being made, particularly on energy efficiency.

Last week, national representatives appeared optimistic about EU nations striking an agreement on the energy efficiency directive.

An EU diplomat told Euractiv: “There is still a discussion ongoing on the headline targets for EU energy efficiency. And unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to predict how the discussion will go tomorrow and what at the end will be on the table.”

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The deal is set to include a binding target for increasing energy efficiency, with a new mechanism drafted to ensure the bloc reaches it.

According to Brook Riley, head of EU Affairs at insulation company Rockwool, this is a “big step forward.”

But Spain has put forward a proposal to drop a binding target for primary energy consumption – the amount of energy used in the production, conversion and transmission process before it reaches the consumer.

Mr Riley said this will suit some countries more than others.

He told Euractiv: “This suits countries with nuclear, it reassures those with big plans for hydrogen, and it means others can expand coal as an energy security stopgap,”

Spain’s proposal was reportedly last-minute and was accepted by a number of countries.

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This is despite Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia and Denmark all agreeing to a binding primary target.

Estonia, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and Slovenia also all agreed to the binding target.

Now, the only countries not in favour of Spain’s idea are reportedly Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

As well as discussions on climate, the ministers are also expected to discuss the EU energy situation in the context of Russia’s war.

National preparedness plans and potential additional measures are expected to b brought up.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said:” In light of the security of supply risks caused by Russia’s continued weaponisation of energy, we need to step up our preparedness in a coordinated way, and push forward all the pillars of our REPowerEU plan: diversification, green energy and energy savings.

“This Energy Council is a key moment to do so, by moving forward with our legislative work on renewables, energy efficiency and gas storage.”


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