EU talks on acidification emissions kick off

Finland seeking ministerial agreement on large combustion plant directive by year end

The Finnish presidency of the EU has re-started negotiations on the proposed directive to further limit emissions from large combustion plants, on which it hopes to get political agreement by the end of the year. In a preliminary discussion yesterday, Brussels diplomats showed that political opinions on the proposal to combat acidification from sources such as power stations were divided along predictable lines.

The environmentally "progressive" states such as Denmark and Austria called for tighter emission limit values, the Mediterranean countries want weaker ones, and the rest are apparently happy with targets between the two extremes proposed by the European Commission (ENDS Daily 9 July 1998).

There is still a dispute over whether majority voting or unanimity should apply to the dossier, following Spain's claim that any EU country should be able to veto the legislation as it affects energy policy (ENDS Daily 12 March). This issue was not discussed at yesterday's meeting, but is bound to return to the agenda when negotiations start again in the autumn.

Another major discussion point will be whether the legislation should apply only to new combustion plants - as proposed by the Commission - or whether existing plants would have to be brought up to the higher standard - as requested by the European Parliament (ENDS Daily 14 April). Austria and Germany are very keen to extend the scope to existing plants, but the majority of countries are against the idea.

Debate on the directive will now restart in September, when EU governments will discuss the dossier in tandem with the recently proposed draft directive to set national emission ceilings (NEC) on pollutants that cause acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone (ENDS Daily 9 June).

According to one diplomat, EU states will probably seek trade-offs between the two proposals, with member states negotiating stricter measures in one directive and giving way to less strict requirements in the other, or vice versa.

Follow Up:
EU Council of Ministers, tel: +32 2 285 6111.

Please sign in to access this article. To subscribe, view our subscription options, or take out a free trial.

Please enter your details

Forgotten password?

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
subs@endseurope.com
or call 020 8267 8120

Not a subscriber?

Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.