Brussels, 20 December 2007
Commissioner Dimas said: "Having just returned from Bali, Environment ministers were acutely aware of the challenge ahead and the necessity to act. Today's political agreement on including aircraft in the emissions trading scheme sends an important signal about the EU's determination to put in place concrete measures to combat climate change." Of the failure to reach agreement on soil, he added: "I am very disappointed that, in spite of the enormous efforts of the Portuguese Presidency, the support of many Environment Ministers in today's Council, and the positive vote and large support from the European Parliament, the Council has not been able to reach a political agreement on the proposal for a Soil Framework Directive. This is a missed opportunity for the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change. I look forward to continuing working with the Council to achieve political agreement as soon as possible.”
Aircraft emissions and the Emissions Trading Scheme
The Council position remains close to the Commission's original proposal of 20 December 2006 (IP/06/1862 and MEMO/06/506), and most of the changes are technical improvements. However, there are also changes of a more political nature, including:
The political agreement reached will now formally be adopted as a "common position" some time in 2008. It will then be sent to the European Parliament for a second reading.
Soil framework directive
The Soil Framework Directive is intended to set common principles and objectives at EU level, and would require Member States to adopt a systematic approach to identifying and combating soil degradation. The failure to adopt the directive was largely due to concerns about subsidiarity, with some Member States maintaining that soil was not a matter to be negotiated at the European level. Others felt that the cost of the directive would be too high, and that the burden of implementation would be too heavy.
Environment and health
The Commission also welcomed the Council Conclusions on Environment and Health, noting their usefulness for the further implementation of the Environment and Health Action Plan.
EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS):
The European Commission's original proposal to include aviation in the EU ETS: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/aviation_en.htm