1. On 06 October, the European Commission published draft implementing measures for Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).1 Article 7a FQD, introduced in the legislation in 2009, includes controversial provisions requiring fuel suppliers to reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of energy from transport fuels by 6% by 2020.
  2. The provisions are considered to disincentivise the use of transport fuels produced from certain unconventional crude feedstocks, including crude oil produced from Canadian oil sands deposits.
  3. The draft implementing measures for Article 7a FQD have been under review by the EU’s Council of Ministers and the European Parliament since publication in October. Both the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament must back the draft implementing measures.
  4. On 03 December, the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee backed a resolution rejecting the draft implementing measures (split 38:29).2 The resolution argued that the draft implementing measures are incompatible with FQD provisions, focussing specifically on the proposed use of the same weighted life-cycle unit GHG intensity measure for both conventional and unconventional feedstocks.
  5. On 04 December, the EU Council of Ministers’ Environment working group (composed of EU Member State government representatives) backed the draft implementing measures by a qualified majority without amendment. Abstentions included the Netherlands, suggesting a conflict of views on the draft implementing measures within the coalition government.
  6. Today the European Parliament’s plenary voted in favour of the resolution recommended by the ENVI committee by a slim majority (337 in favour, 325 opposed with 48 abstentions). However, the applicable rules of procedure for this resolution requires that a majority of the legislature’s component members (≥376 legislators) vote in favour of the resolution for it to be adopted.3 Consequently, while a majority of legislators voted in favour of the resolution these votes were insufficient in number for the resolution to be adopted.
  7. This means that the European Commission’s controversial draft implementing measures on Article 7a FQD will be adopted without amendment following adoption by a Council configuration – a procedural formality.
  8. This legislation will enter into force on the twentieth day following the day of its publication in the EU’s Official Journal. EU Member States will have twelve months from formal adoption to transpose the legislation with requirements on fuel suppliers to calculate and report GHG intensity of fuels from 2016.