Parliament’s lead committee supports Commission proposal / Difficult negotiations with Council expected

An earmarking of the revenues should pave the way for more international acceptance of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). This is the main result of a vote in the Parliament’s lead environment committee on the controversial issue of including aviation in the EU ETS. Already in 2008, Parliament and Council decided to include aviation in the ETS. But to give a positive signal to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) assembly in Montreal September/October last year the EU institutions limited the scope to intra-European flights for one year (Stop the Clock).

After the result of the ICAO assembly last year the European Commission proposed a compromise between the original scope that covers all intercontinental flights starting and landing in Europe and the stop-the-clock-decision: the so-called airspace approach. This approach has been supported in principle by the Parliament’s lead committee. The committee’s clear vote of 49 to 6 is the mandate for the Parliament’s negotiations with the Council of Ministers. To get more acceptance for the EU-ETS members ask for a strict earmarking of revenues. "It is important to get third-countries included in the process. We need to try to get acceptance for the airspace approach and pave the way for a real effective international agreement. In my meetings with third-countries I always hear the argument that the revenues are reserved for the national finance ministers in the EU member states. This is a weak point in our legislation which Parliament intends to change. We should spend the money on purpose which means for research and development as well as international climate policy. I know that this is very sensitive for the member states but in this situation everybody needs to be flexible and pragmatic", said Peter Liese, Parliament’s rapporteur on the legislation. Liese insisted that a compromise with the Council of Ministers needs to be found rather soon because from the 1st of May the original legislation which covers all intercontinental flights will enter into force if it is not amended in time. "This would be a radical solution that some NGOs and one industry association favours. But I think it would be too ambitious and create enormous difficulties with third-countries. That is why everybody needs to compromise now," Liese concluded.