© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Sweden’s Torbjorn Haak, before the start of The Council of Europe annual ministerial meeting at Marienlyst Strandhotel in Elsingoer, Denmark, Friday, 18 May 2018. RITZAU SCANPIX/Martin Sylvest via REUTERS
By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union aims to finish negotiations by July on laws to deliver its 2030 climate change target, although a contentious overhaul of fossil fuel taxes will likely take longer, Sweden’s ambassadors to the bloc said on Monday.
The 27-country EU is in the final stretch of negotiating roughly a dozen laws to fight global warming, and last year struck deals on most, including a 2035 ban on sales of new fossil fuel cars and a major overhaul of its carbon market.
Sweden, which now holds the EU’s rotating presidency and will chair negotiations among member countries until July, wants to finalise tougher targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency and minimum energy performance standards for buildings, as well as requirements for airlines to use more green fuel.
“We will try to make that complete, so that during the first part of this year, we can state that the Fit for 55 package has been brought to a successful end in terms of the legislative work,” Torbjörn Haak, Sweden’s deputy ambassador to the EU, told reporters in Brussels.
Haak said that for now Sweden was not anticipating new emergency proposals to cope with the fallout of Russia slashing its gas flows to Europe, after EU countries agreed emergency measures last year including a gas price cap and storage filling requirements.
But he added: “We do not exclude anything.”
Saving energy and expanding renewables faster are crucial to meeting the EU’s target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 55% from 1990 levels by 2030 – as well as delivering on its aim to ultimately replace most Russian gas with clean energy.
However, early talks last year among EU countries – which along with the European Parliament, must agree the final laws – showed moves to weaken some proposals, including requirements to renovate energy-guzzling buildings.
Prospects for a deal are less optimistic for a proposal to end the EU’s tax break on polluting jet fuel. Countries must unanimously approve EU tax changes, making them fiendishly difficult to pass.
“We don’t think that there is that much room for results, to be honest,” Sweden’s EU ambassador Lars Danielsson said.