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EU presidency seeks mandate for back-loading talks

25 Oct 2013 16:56:54 | edcm

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The Lithuanian EU presidency will ask European countries for a mandate to start trilogue negotiations with the EU Parliament on the back-loading plan on 8 November, an EU Council presidency source told ICIS on Friday.

“The ETS (back-loading) mandate issue has been scheduled on the agenda of Coreper on 8 November,” the source told ICIS on Friday, referring to the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper I) – the body responsible for preparing the work of the Council and consisting of representatives from the different countries.

The support of Germany – the key undecided country – plus some from Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic is needed to gain the mandate. Germany still has to formalise its position. Recent comments by the acting environment minister Peter Altmaier and Chancellor Angela Merkel have been interpreted as encouraging signs that the country will back the proposal ( see EDCM 18 October 2013 ).

The measure to temporarily prop up carbon prices by delaying some of the scheduled supply in the EU emissions trading system was passed by the Parliament in July. The Council now has to start trilogue negotiations with the Parliament and the European Commission. If an agreement is found in trilogue, the text will be sent to the Parliament’s environment committee for approval and then it needs to be voted through in the Parliament before it returns to the Council.

A final approval before the end of the year – the Council will meet on 13 December – is still possible, even if it would require the approval process to progress quickly and smoothly.

If it becomes law, the EU Climate Change Committee will have to decide the specifics of the back-loading schedule. Silvia Molteni

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