T&E critical of European Council lack of transparency and wants more clear ambition
Green lobby Group Transport and Environment has ranked EU member states according to their ambition levels to support the region’s proposed inclusion of shipping into the region’s emission trading scheme.
Sweden comes top, Greece at the bottom of the 21 EU countries the lobby group believes can influence the ‘opaque’ Council discussions that have to take place as region plans to draw shipping into the region’s emission trading scheme.
Inclusion of shipping into the ETS is one of three significant rule proposals being discussed in Europe as part of the region’s “Fit for 55” package. The other two maritime related legislative developments are the Fuel EU Maritime and proposals relating to fuel infrastructure.
All EU regulation has to go through Council, Parliament and Commission before member states expected to bring their own regulations inline.
Talking to Fathom World about the process Faig Abbasov, T&E’s Director, Shipping, said that the Council is an affront to democracy. “Because of its opaque decision making process you have no idea what is happening behind the scenes,” he said “We are trying to being transparency into the process”
The ranking published by T&E has assessed how much influence certain countries wil have in Council meetings and how much is known about their plans to try and avoid bringing the ETS requirements into shipping.
T&E has been campaigning for stronger regulations and fore maritime states in the region to work on supporting the various packages that are currently being discussed at the EU level.
The three packages, which fall under Europe’s Fit for 55 plans, are for the inclusion of shipping into the region’s emissions trading scheme, proposals relating to the Fuel EU maritime regulations which aim to push shipping to change fuel options and then the infrastructure regulations which will mandate member states on port infrastructure to support the transition.
The ranking list now published by T&E compares form looing ta publicly available documents and interviews with member state representatives. Clearly two influential countries in Europe are not members of the EU, UK and Norway so their positions are not reflected in the list.
T&E is critical of the regulatory process in so far as it sees the EU Council as being undemocratic and opaque enabling ministers form come countries to take positions without full accountability.
In its analysis T& E says there is a distinct broad split in ambition with the ETS, a clear East/West and North/South divide. Sweden comes out top of the T&E list in the lead in terms of ambition,, followed by Germany, Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium, Greece, says T&E is the laggard, followed by Croatia, Cyprus and Malta.
Amongst the criteria used by T&E to assess EU member state ambition are the known attempts to include exemptions and derogations for certain sectors or types of shipping to not join the ETS.
For example, says Faig Abbasov, Shipping lead at T&E, Finland wants an exemption on ice class ships, which clearly does not sit comfortably with he countries stated full decarbonisation goals.
As well as Finland seeking exemptions for ice navigation, the T&E ranking also notes Greece wanting exemptions passenger vessels working to certain islands- Spain wants some ships to get free allowances to trade on the ETs, to address what it thinks will be port evasion. Spain also believes there should be exemptions for vessels sailing to outer regions such as the Canary Islands, The lobby group also notes that some countries are pushing for a longer phase in of shipping into the ETS.
The ranking is there to help put some transparency on the potential discussions at the Council, and as France has no position being the current president of the council will have no official position, hence why T&E has not included the country in its ranking.
The T&E ranking was published following the vote on amendments on details of shipping joining the region’s emissions trading scheme. The amendments are to be voted on by the Parliament as a whole, in plenary, and then potentially amended with discussions between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Ministers.