Political discussions on maritime emissions and invasive alien species

16 December 2013, Last updated at, 09:34 EET
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author: ES Taryba

Two legislative documents were extensively discussed during the EU Environment Council that took place today, Friday, 13 December, in Brussels. At this final Environment Council under the Lithuanian Presidency, ministers have exchanged their views on the proposal for a Regulation on the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport. The aim of this proposal is to provide a first step in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport.  

During the Lithuanian Presidency intensive examination of the proposal and its impact assessment took place. During today’s meeting ministers have considered the scope of the proposal and the balance between ensuring a minimum level-playing field and allowing the necessary flexibility while minimising administrative burden.

Ministers shared the view that the international agreement would be the most effective means of reducing maritime emissions. Nevertheless, ministers were also of the opinion that while the global agreement is not in place, Commission’s proposal to monitor maritime emissions is an appropriate first step in reducing emissions.

Afterwards, ministers had the orientation debate on the proposal for a Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species (IAS Regulation) that the Commission submitted to the Council and the European Parliament in September. This proposal reflects a problem which has a huge impact on biodiversity, ecosystem services, as well on human health and economy.

The Lithuanian Presidency in quite short time made a huge progress with this important file. In order to provide general policy guidance and facilitate further work within the Council ministers have considered the scope of the regulation, particularly the establishment of the list of invasive alien species and possible regional cooperation.

Today the ministers have agreed that the EU needs to be sufficiently robust and precautionary for the problems of invasive alien species. According to the minister Valentinas Mazuronis, the regional cooperation and effective list of IAS are key in order to design effective system. “Also we need sufficiently recognize the problem of species native to one part of the EU but invasive in another parts,” added minister Mazuronis.

During the Council meeting the Presidency, the COP Presidency and the Commission have presented the outcome of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Now we can say that we achieved the key elements of what we wanted,” stated minister Mazuronis.

“We have a more precise timetable towards the Paris Conference, we have the main features of the EU's proposal for a stepwise approach towards the 2015 agreement and the conference did not break down on contentious issues such as finance, loss and damage,” said minister Mazuronis.

According to him, the Conference results sent a strong message to all of us how to define further steps towards concluding a new international legally binding climate Agreement by 2015.

The Presidency has informed the Council on the state of play with a view to the proposal to minimise impact of indirect land-use change on greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels (ILUC), the Commission and the Presidency have updated the Council on the state of play of the EU/ ETS Aviation. The Commission has informed the Council on the recent proposal to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Finally, today’s formal session ended with the presentation of work programme of the incoming Greek Presidency.

Over the lunch ministers have discussed on future actions "Towards a post-2015 overarching framework". Ministers expressed their views on how to ensure that environmental dimension of sustainable development is well integrated into the post 2015 agenda.

Lithuania’s Minister of Environment Mr. Valentinas Mazuronis, who chaired the Council, concluded the meeting by emphasising his satisfaction for the outcome of the Lithuanian Presidency agenda on the environment. He also expressed his appreciation for the spirit of mutual understanding and support which characterized a fruitful cooperation and interaction with Member States and European Institutions.  

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