Disputes spark more EU conciliation talks

Negotiations due on car emission monitoring, ozone-depleters, after MEPs, governments, fail to agree

Disagreements between EU governments and the European Parliament have forced final decisions on proposed directives tackling climate change and ozone layer depletion into the increasingly invoked "conciliation" process. The move follows Parliament's calls for tighter restrictions on ozone-depleting substances and changes to a planned system for monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from cars (ENDS Daily 3 December 1999).

Following the parliamentary votes, EU finance ministers confirmed on Monday that the Council could not accept all of them. In the case of ozone-depleters, the decision that the conciliation committee should convene is surprising as MEPs last year rejected the most radical changes to proposed restrictions (ENDS Daily 17 December 1999).

MEPs did push to bring forward a planned ban on the use of "virgin" HCFCs in refrigeration equipment from 2010 to 2007 and removed a proposed two-year exemption for small air-conditioning systems from a ban on using recovered HCFC

refrigerants from 2001. A source at the Council of Ministers refused to say which issues were holding up agreement because of their "delicate" nature.

However, she said that disagreements were "smaller" than recent conciliation clashes over funds for clean energy schemes (ENDS Daily 10 December 1999) and would be resolved by the end of the month. Last week, the Parliament raised the prospect of another budgetary battle with ministers by demanding more funds for environmental projects (ENDS Daily 28 January).

Follow Up:
EU Council of Ministers, tel: +32 2 285 6111; European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111. See also the Ecofin council minutes dated 31 January.

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