19 Dec

The Environment Council took place in Brussels on 18 December. Hungary was represented at the meeting by Dr. Anikó Raisz Secretary of State for Environment and Circular Economy.

The highlight of the agenda was the packaging and packaging waste regulation. Ministers agreed – with the support of Hungary – on the Council's common position, so inter-institutional negotiations can start with the Parliament in order to adopt the final text. The overall objective of the regulation is to harmonize the different national measures for the management of packaging and packaging waste in order to prevent or reduce their negative impact on the environment. Anikó Raisz stressed that the use of packaging and the amount of waste it generates is on the increase, despite the joint efforts made so far. She supported efforts to reduce waste generation and as well as decisive and consistent steps to increase the role of reuse systems. She emphasized that the use of deposit return schemes is necessary to achieve these objectives.

Ministers, furthermore, had an exchange of views on the targets of the proposals on the directive on soil monitoring and resilience and the regulation on a monitoring framework for resilient European forests. With regard to soil monitoring law, the member states agreed that there is a need for broad and comparable data on the condition of the soils. The ministers underlined, that when we determine the conditions of healthy soil, we have to take into account national specificities.  In relation to the forestry monitoring proposal, the member states supported the harmonization of data collection at the European level. With regard to both proposals, the ministers emphasized that the existing member states' systems should be taken as a basis.

During lunch, ministers discussed  the 2040 climate target of the European Union, which is soon to be published. As an invitee, Ottmar Edenhofer, president of the European Scientific Advisory Body on Climate Change presented the assessment of the Body on the 2040 target, which recommends at least 90-95% emission reduction. Anikó Raisz State Secretary called for a realistic target backed by citizens and underlined that the decision on the target should be set at the highest political level, the European Council.

Among any other business the incoming Belgian Presidency presented its work program in the field of environment and climate.