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No timing yet for a second vote on EU carbon back-loading proposal

25 Apr 2013 20:51:57 | glm


The European parliament's environment committee (ENVI) coordinators failed on Thursday to set a date for a vote on an amended version of the carbon back-loading proposal, a source close to the matter said.

The coordinators - one MEP per political group - and committee chairman Matthias Groote met to discuss the next steps for the European Commission's proposal after its rejection by parliament last week (see EDCM 23 April 2013).

"The coordinators have decided to work on a way to bring a new first reading on back-loading back to plenary," Groote wrote on Twitter after the meeting.

Asked if there would be vote on the proposal during the June parliamentary plenary session, he replied: "By June, ENVI must say what the committee wants to do with the back-loading. These are the rules of the [European parliament]."

He said the committee should send a new report to parliament by 16 June, although the deadline can be postponed.

A source close to the matter said coordinators disagreed on the timing and will discuss it again in a meeting in two weeks' time.

"They'll have to decide then whether to go quickly and push for a plenary vote as soon as possible, or give more time to find compromise amendments and at the same time wait until after the German elections," the source said.

Germany's position is considered crucial for the proposal. Back-loading comes under the EU's co-decision rules, under which the parliament and the European Council have to agree its fate.

Experts do not expect Germany to decide on a back-loading stance before the federal elections in September.

Possible amendments

The fact that the parliament voted to send the back-loading back to committee shows the measure is not dead, according to some.

"We do think that the rejection of the legislative resolution shows that the parliament is not entirely opposing back-loading, but is opposing the current text," Jan Frommeyer, managing director of German consultancy Tschach Solutions, said.

"Therefore, we expect that there is some negotiation room for rapporteur Groote in the second attempt in the ENVI committee."

There is a consensus that an amendment previously tabled by the European People's Party (EPP) which voted against the proposal last week might be the basis for the version considered for putting to a second vote on the issue in parliament.

The EPP amendment limits the commission's ability to back-load allowances. It would be allowed to do so only once for a maximum of 900m allowances and only if it would not have a "significant impact" on installations exposed to the risk of carbon leakage.

The party's amendment also states that the back-loaded emissions allowances must be re-introduced in a linear manner starting from the year after that in which the measure is applied. Silvia Molteni

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