During a debate in the Parliament on Thursday, Ms von Blottnitz criticised the Council of Ministers' decision to give the Altener II programme funding of Ecu22m for its first two years (ENDS Daily 9 December 1997). Bearing in mind the forecast for a 3% increase in carbon dioxide emissions before 2000 and the fact that there were no signs of agreement on an energy tax, the German Green MEP urged ministers to do more to support renewable energies.
Currently, the EU has no legally binding target for increasing the use of renewable energy. In its White Paper on renewable energies, put forward last November, the Commission suggested doubling the share of renewables to 12% by 2010 (ENDS Daily 27 November 1997). The Parliament's new 15% target, if accepted by ministers, would not only be more ambitious than the Commission's plan, but would also have a firmer legal status.
In a second main line of attack on the Council of Ministers' position on Altener II, MEPs voted to delete the planned two-year funding of Ecu22m in favour of a more flexible approach that would require authorisation "by the budgetary authority". This would give the Parliament, which is unhappy that the Council rejected the Commission's proposal of Ecu30m funding for the first two years of Altener II, a say over each year's funding decisions.
The Parliament has also specified that the level of funding agreed for Altener II should "be based on the objective" of the Commission's White Paper on renewable energies, "and on the goal of making a significant contribution to the objective of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 15% in the year 2010".
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