EU environment and climate ministers to discuss climate package
The EU ministers responsible for the environment and climate change issues will meet in Brussels on 20 December to discuss the EU’s climate package (Fit for 55 package), the Battery Regulation and the Soil Strategy. State Secretary Terhi Lehtonen will represent Finland at the meeting.
In July 2021, the Commission issued an extensive package of proposals for climate legislation. The proposals of the Fit for 55 package implement the obligation in the European Climate Law to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions of the EU by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The Presidency will present a progress report on the proposals that are the responsibility of the Environment Council (Emissions Trading Directive, Effort Sharing Regulation, LULUCF Regulation, Regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for cars and vans, and Regulation establishing a social climate fund). The Environment Council discussed these proposals in October 2021 as well. In addition, the Presidency will present a report on the progress made in all proposals included in the Fit for 55 package in different Council configurations. The Government’s positions on the proposals have been presented in separate Union communications.
“The key issue here is that the package as a whole will be sufficient to achieve and exceed the emission reduction target of at least 55 per cent. Finland considers it important that the package will not be weakened as the negotiations proceed but, rather, it will become even stronger. This is why one of our proposals is that the CO2 standards for vehicles should be tightened faster than in the Commission’s proposal,” State Secretary Terhi Lehtonen says.
The ministers will also discuss the European Commission’s proposal for a new Battery Regulation, issued by the Commission a year ago. The proposed regulatory package will promote a sustainable European battery industry and the circular economy of batteries, while at the same time securing a high standard of environmental and health protection. The previous time the ministers discussed this proposal was at the June Environment Council. Since then the proposal has been discussed in several working groups, but the progress has been very slow. In general, Finland considers the proposed regulation as good and welcome. A regulation framework that offers a high standard of environmental protection will also promote the competitive position of the Finnish battery industry within the EU.
The topics to be discussed also include the Communication on the new EU Soil Strategy issued by the Commission in November 2021. The vision of the new EU Soil Strategy is that all soil ecosystems in Europe will be healthy by 2050. The aim is to ensure the protection, restoration and sustainable use of soil. Finland considers it important and necessary to update the strategy. However, in the initiatives related to soil it is important to take into account the different natural conditions and circumstances in different Member States. Finland’s positions regarding the Soil Strategy will be formulated in more detail in the Europe communication that is being prepared.
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