28 Jun

On 26 June, environment ministers discussed, amongst others water reuse, chemicals and climate change when meeting in Luxemburg for the last Environment Council under the Romanian Presidency.

The EU is taking new measures to reduce the risk of shortages of water for irrigating crops. The Council agreed its position (general approach) on a regulation which facilitates the use of urban waste water for agricultural irrigation. These new rules are fully in line with the circular economy, and will improve the availability of water and encourage its efficient use. Mr. András Rácz, State Secretary for Environment welcomed the general approach, that will help Europe adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Ministers adopted conclusions offering political guidance on the development of a sustainable EU chemicals policy strategy. The conclusions address a wide range of topics of chemicals (e.g. REACH, endocrine disruptors, nanomaterials and pharmaceuticals), while urging the Commission to develop without further delay, a Union strategy for a non-toxic environment.

The Presidency informed ministers on the state of play of political and expert level discussions on a strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy. The discussions will continue under the Finnish Presidency. The Commission presented its Communications and recommendations on the draft integrated National Energy and Climate Plans for 2021-2030. Member States have to improve and finalize their plans by the end 2019 based on the Commission’s recommendations.

The Presidency also informed ministers on the state of play of the legislative proposal on monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport. The Netherlands delegation briefed ministers on a recent high-level conference on carbon pricing and aviation taxes organized in The Hague on 20-21 June. The Bulgarian delegation drew attention to the uneven development of infrastructure across the European Union regarding electromobility. In this context, it presented possible European measures to support clean mobility, especially electromobility. The Bulgarian delegation proposed to establish a European Clean Mobility Fund, in addition to the existing EU financial instruments.