Issue 28

Newsflash
October 2013

The European Parliament has proposed that exploration and hydraulic fracturing extraction activities for unconventional fossil fuels should be subject to environmental impact studies, in adopting an amendment to existing EU legislation. MEPs also suggest measures to prevent conflicts of interest and to ensure that the public is informed and consulted. The vote means lead MEP Andrea Zanoni (ALDE, IT) has been given a mandate to negotiate a first-reading agreement with EU ministers. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive applies to both public and private projects.

The Green 10 group, a group of large environmental NGOs, has told the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development  (EBRD) to phase out coal, nuclear and shale gas investments. The group, which includes WWF and the European Environmental Bureau, has urged the EBRD to cease funding fossil fuel developments. The NGOs want the EBRD to mirror the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has already reduced investment in coal.

This week EU Environment ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, agreed to a common position for the UN Climate change conference in Warsaw. During the Council meeting ministers agreed to focus in particular on implementation of existing decisions and further progress on both tracks of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. Amongst other conclusions, the Council decided to:

At a conference in Brussels on the role of plastic waste in a circular economy, Commissioner Potočnik argued, “let’s keep the fantastic and get rid of the drastic”. Potočnik spoke of the need for the Commission to examine carefully the use of plastic and its disposal. There is a pressing need to reduce the amount of production of plastic items that are thrown out immediately. The speech was part of DG Environment’s focus on waste and follows the publication of green paper on plastic waste. The European Parliament is expected to produce an opinion on the green paper soon.

The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in the European Parliament have endorsed legislation for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The reform aims to simplify the CAP and determine its scope until 2020. The vote followed an informal agreement reached between the three key legislative institutions, the Parliament, the Commission and the Council. MEPs succeeded in their aim to increase the rural development co-financing rate for rural development for less-developed regions and outermost regions.

ENEP attended a stakeholders consultation meeting on the 2030 framework for climate and energy with the EU’s Committee of the Regions (CoR). The CoR is in the process of drafting an Opinion on the 2030 framework. Rapporteur Hertell (Finland/EPP) has asked for experts in the field to provide case studies of successful policies at the local and regional levels that have improved energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Commission’s Regional Policy Directorate and the Committee of the Regions jointly hosted their 11th annual Open Days event in Brussels between 7th and 10th October. The event attracted over 5500 policy makers from local and regional authorities throughout Europe.  During the week over 350 workshops, debates and conferences were held on the theme of Regions and Cities.

 

The IES has published a journal investigating the environmental legislation emanating from the EU. It explores key questions over shale gas, the proposed Soil Framework Directive, implementation of EU law, and political and business opinion about the EU in the UK. The publication was produced with the help of ENEP and can be downloaded HERE.

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