Members of European Parliament formally object to European Commission proposals

The EU has moved to allow imports of crude oil from Canadian oil sands – but then again, maybe it hasn’t.

  • On October 6 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.
  • The draft implementing measures were communicated simultaneously to the EU’s Council of Ministers and European Parliament. Both institutions must scrutinize the draft implementing measures and may reject, amend and/or agree to the draft implementing measures.2
  • The draft implementing measures have been allocated to the Environment Council configuration of the Council of Ministers, which is chaired by Italy (current Council Presidency), and to the European Parliament’s 69-member Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee.
  • The European Parliament set an internal deadline of October 24 for notification of objections to the draft implementing measures. Norton Rose Fulbright LLP confirms that objections were filed with the legislature’s secretariat before the deadline by two Dutch committee members – Bas Eickhout MEP (member of European Parliament) on behalf of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) political group and Gerben Jan Gerbrandy MEP on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) political group.
  • Norton Rose Fulbright LLP is informed that the legislators notified their objections to the draft implementing measures without an explanatory statement. They are consequently expected to prepare a draft motion for a resolution of the legislature on the draft implementing measures shortly.
  • This draft motion must then be approved by the ENVI committee and then a majority of the legislature’s 751 members. The European Parliament has four months from receipt of the draft implementing measures during which to act.
  • Green, liberal and left-wing legislators have been quick to decry the European Commission’s draft implementing measures with criticism targeted at proposed identical weighted life-cycle unit GHG intensity metrics for conventional crudes, natural bitumen and oil shale. Legislators consider such proposed treatment as contrary to the intent and letter of Article 7a FQD.
  • However, the strategy of opposed legislators remains unclear. Opposed legislators are unlikely to propose a resolution to simply reject the draft implementing measures given challenges of building a plenary majority. Some opposed legislators are likely to consider flawed implementing measures for Article 7a FQD to be better than no implementing measures for the provision in the near term.
  • Norton Rose Fulbright LLP expects a draft motion for a resolution to be put to the ENVI committee shortly demanding amendments to the draft implementing measures, including at least a revision of the proposed unit GHG intensity metrics. Such a motion would appear likely to gain majority support in the committee at this time.
  • In the meantime the Council of Ministers’ Environment working group (composed of EU member state government representatives) will review the draft implementing measures. The Council of Ministers is expected to agree to the draft implementing measures without substantive amendments by qualified majority. The Council of Ministers has two months from receipt of the draft implementing measures during which to act.