Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 27 February, 2007

Written Answers. - Official Engagements.

Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the outcome of his recent meeting with other EU Environment Ministers in Brussels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7679/07]

  Mr. Roche: The recent meeting of the EU Environment Council dealt most importantly with climate change issues. Conclusions were adopted on the EU objectives for the further development of the international climate regime beyond 2012.

Council confirmed the EU’s willingness to commit to a 30% reduction in emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 provided that other developed countries commit to similar reductions and the more advanced developing countries contribute according to their capabilities. The Council also agreed that the EU should unilaterally commit to a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020 until such an agreement is concluded. These conclusions form part of the Environment Council’s contribution to the Spring European Council.

There were policy debates at Council on the inclusion of aviation emissions in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme and on the need to make legislative provision for the reduction of CO 2 emissions from cars. There was a general welcome for the initiatives and more work will now be done on the detail. Council adopted conclusions incorporating the Environment Council’s contribution to the Spring European Council. These

reiterated the important contribution of eco-innovation to the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs,

underlined the importance of mutually supportive EU climate change and energy strategies, setting out an ambitious agenda for actions to combat climate change and including recommendations on energy that reflect the conclusions of the Energy Council held on 15 February 2007, and

stressed that the Better Regulation initiative should continue to achieve high quality, regulation with ambitious objectives and standards that promotes a high level of protection and improvement in the quality of the environment.

Council adopted conclusions on the Thematic Strategy for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides, welcoming the strategy and the fact that the Commission has proposed a comprehensive legal framework for Community action to achieve the [1110] sustainable use of pesticides. There was also an initial policy debate on the Thematic Strategy for soil protection and the related proposal for a framework Directive for soil protection.

Council adopted a decision, by qualified majority, to reject a proposal from the Commission for a Council decision to overturn a Hungarian national ban on the use and sale of an approved genetically modified maize labelled MON 810. It failed to reach a qualified majority decision on a proposal for the placing on the market of the so-called Moonlite Carnation, genetically modified for flower colour. In line with agreed arrangements in such a situation it will now be for the Commission to take a decision on this matter.