The next EU Environment Council will take place on 20 December, in Brussels. I will be attending to represent the UK. The Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment (Mairi Gougeon MSP) will also attend.
On environment items, the main legislative focus will be on the Partial General Approach on the Regulation on LIFE (the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU).
The primary focus for climate items will be a General Approach on the Regulation on CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles, followed by an exchange of views on the Commission’s long-term strategy for EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Any other business (AOB) will include information from the Presidency on the following legislative proposals:
- Regulation on Taxonomy;
- Directive on Single Use Plastics;
- Regulation on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (recast);
- Regulation on the alignment of environmental reporting obligations;
- Directive on Drinking Water (recast);
- Regulation on CO2 standards for cars and vans.
The Commission and Presidency will then report on the following two recent international meetings:
- Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Sharm EL-Sheikh, Egypt, 17-29 November 2018) – including an update from the UK on the outcomes of the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade held on 11-12 October;
- COP 24 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Katowice, Poland 2-14 December).
The Commission will then provide information on the implementation of the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change.
Following this, there will be an update from the Presidency on the outcome of two discussions held at the Informal meeting of Environment and Transport Ministers (Graz, 29, 30 October 2018):
- The future of European Environment Policy – towards an 8th Environment Action Programme;
- ‘Graz Declaration’ Starting a new era: Clean, safe and affordable mobility for Europe.
There are currently three member state led AOBs:
- Adoption of measures at EU level to create the conditions for discontinuing the use of environmentally problematic substances contained in plant protection products (tabled by Belgium);
- Intermediary sessions of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention), and the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) (Genevea, 5-7 February 2019) (tabled by Lithuania);
- The environmental and climate ambition of the future Common Agricultural Policy (tabled by Germany, supported by Luxembourg).
Finally, the Romanian delegation will provide information on their upcoming Presidency.