Lord de Mauley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Resource Management, the Local Environment and Environmental Science, and I will represent the UK at the Environment Council in Luxembourg on 25 October.
At this Council, the Presidency will hold a legislative orientation debate on a Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on ship recycling (First reading). This item is on the agenda as it is currently going through the first reading ordinary legislative procedure (OLP - formally co-decision) process in the Council and the European Parliament.
The Presidency has confirmed that the focus of the debate will be on some of the bigger issues such as safeguarding the competitiveness of the EU-flag; enforceability and effectiveness; whether the Regulation should be closely aligned with the Hong Kong Convention or should introduce additional requirements; and whether it should set out detailed provisions on penalties and access to justice or leave these matters to Member States.
Ministers are then expected to adopt non-legislative Council conclusions on Rio+20: outcome and follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) 2012 Summit. Rio+20 initiated four intergovernmental processes on: Sustainable Development Goals; a financing strategy; a new high level political forum; and on strengthening the UNEP. This item is on the agenda as the EU’s attention is now turning to implementation. The UK will seek Conclusions demonstrating support for the Rio outcomes and a commitment to take a constructive role in follow-up activities, in particular keeping a broad view of what SDGs might look like.
Following the morning session the Presidency will host a Ministerial lunch which will focus on climate change. The topic of this lunch is a “presentation and discussion on the outcome of the Pre-COP 18/CMP 8 Ministerial Meeting on climate change held recently in Korea”, which I attended.
In the afternoon session, Ministers will seek to adopt non-legislative Council conclusions on Preparations for the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 8th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 8). COP18 will take place in Doha, Qatar from the 26th November to the 7th December 2012, and these conclusions will form the basic framework of the EU’s negotiating position at COP18.
At the end of the day, the following topics will be covered under ‘any other business’:
- Information from the Commission on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources (ABS)/Proposal for a Regulation on EU implementing measures.
- Information from the Belgian delegation on the importance of the EU legislation for meeting environmental objectives - the example of the air quality.
- Information from the Swedish delegation on chemicals in textiles.
- Information from the Commission on the Emissions Trading Scheme in aviation.
- Information from the Presidency and the Commission on the timing of auctions of greenhouse gas allowances (“Back loading”) - state of play.
- Information from the Czech delegation on guidelines for the mutual acceptance of low emission zones vignettes and the exchange of best practice.