EU countries pass mandate for back-loading trialogue talks
EU countries on Friday gave the EU Presidency the mandate to start informal trialogue negotiations with the European Parliament and the Commission on back-loading, the Lithuanian Presidency said in a statement.
In 2012, the European Commission asked for clarification of its legal powers to delay some of the scheduled auction supply by changing the auction calendar. This “back-loading” of supply is designed to support carbon prices currently depressed by a 2bn EU allowance (EUA) oversupply.
Under the terms agreed by Parliament in July, a maximum 900m EUAs can be back-loaded only once in phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) following a carbon leakage risk assessment.
The Permanent Representatives Committee – a body consisting of representatives from EU countries and tasked with preparing the work of the Council of the European Union – has now agreed by qualified majority that the Council accepts the amendment passed by Parliament without further changes.
Any agreement found during trialogue negotiations has to be voted on by the European Parliament’s environment committee, the Parliament’s plenary and the Council. If this goes smoothly, the proposal could become law before the end of the year. Then, the Climate Change Committee would have to amend the auction calendar, which requires a three-month scrutiny. This means that, in the best-case scenario, back-loading can be applied only from spring 2014.
“There is a pressing need to redress the carbon price and reassure markets that the EU is serious about ensuring the proper functioning of its ETS,” said Arunas Vinciunas, the chair of the committee.
Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, commented that “common sense prevailed”. Silvia Molteni
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