22 Jun

The Environment Council took place in Luxembourg on 20 June. 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 nature restoration 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 restore all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. It also sets out sub-targets for example to promote more sustainable agriculture and forest management and increase urban green spaces.

Ministers, furthermore, had an exchange of views on the targets and flexibilities of the proposal on CO2 standards for heavy duty vehicles. Member States views are yet differ in tems of the acceptability of the proposed targets. Dr. Anikó Raisz highlighted, that despite Hungary remains committed to climate neutrality, we need balanced targets. She raised concerns about the 100% zero emission target set for new city buses from 2030 due to its impacts on society and small towns.

Member states hold a political debate on the review of the ambient air quality directive. The directive aims to reduce the negative health and environmental impacts of air pollution by aligning air quality standards with WHO recommendations. Ministers discussed the level of ambition of the proposal as well as the means to achieve this objective.

During lunch, ministers discussed about the preparation and Union priorities in light of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28).

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