Highlights of the session included the second in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković; and the debate and vote on the composition of the European Parliament after Brexit. The European Commission also made statements on fair taxation packages and the manipulation of scientific research by multinationals in the wake of revelations on emission tests on monkeys and humans by the German car industry. Parliament decided to set up a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST). Parliament adopted agreed first-reading positions on, inter alia, a regulation on ending unjustified geo-blocking and two regulations on EU external action funds – among the priorities for 2018 in the Joint Declaration agreed by the Council, Commission and Parliament.
CO2 emissions from all flights to and from airports in the European Economic Area (EEA) have been included in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) since 2012. Although this would include flights between an airport within the EEA and an airport outside it, the application of the ETS to such flights was temporarily suspended, until the end of 2016, to allow for the development of emission-reduction measures with a global scope by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and to avoid conflicts with international trading partners. In October 2016, ICAO adopted a global market based measure (GMBM), which would become operational in 2021. In February 2017, the European Commission proposed a regulation to prolong the derogation for extra-EEA flights, gradually reduce the number of aviation allowances from 2021 onwards, and prepare for the implementation of the GMBM. After its adoption by Council and Parliament, the regulation entered into force on 29 December 2017.
It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, however, Norway’s newly announced pledge to electrify all planes in the next 20 years, shows that powering planes on batteries is no longer a mere vision, but reality. Emissions from aviation are increasing worldwide alongside passengers’ appetite for cheaper and faster journeys, making aviation one of the fastest growing sources of climate-warming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The UK cannot enjoy its current access to the EU air transport market after it leaves the EU unless it also commits to respecting EU aviation rules, a new report by T&E says. The report examines how to safeguard efforts to reduce the environmental impact of aviation after ‘Brexit’, and concludes that everyone stands to benefit if the British government adheres to EU rules on emissions trading and state aid.
In October 2016, parties to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed to adopt a global market-based mechanism to offset aviation emissions above 2020 levels. T&E views this is a small step forward to address aviation emissions, but well short of what is required to ensure this rapidly growing sector contributes to the goals of the Paris agreement.
– Adoption of a legislative act
3586th meeting of the Council of the European Union (Agriculture and Fisheries) 11 and 12 December 2017, Brussels
The December session highlights were the pre-European Council debate, including on the state of play of ‘Brexit’ negotiations, as well as the debate on foreign, security and defence policy, with a statement from Federica Mogherini on PESCO. Members also debated US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the PANA Committee of Inquiry report. Parliament adopted, inter alia, the ‘Omnibus’ regulation for agriculture, extension of EFSI, and a regulation on aviation emissions.
Update: A revised document has been published.
Vote results and texts adopted will be added when available.
– Outcome of the European Parliament’s first reading (Strasbourg, 11 to 14 December)
UK flights must abide by EU environmental rules after Brexit if Britain wants to the retain its current level of access to the European aviation market. That’s according to a report by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) which looked at how to ensure environmental protection in the aviation sector continues after the UK leaves the bloc. It recommends that EU rules on the aviation emissions trading system (ETS) and state aid should continue to apply to the UK. This would maintain a check on aviation emissions and prevent increased UK subsidies for airport infrastructure and airlines which would be distortive and detrimental to the environment.