An EU committee last week voted against steps that would keep the door open for imports of crude oil from Canadian oil sands.
- 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 provisions are considered to disincentivize the use of
transport fuels produced from certain unconventional crude
feedstocks, including crude oil produced from Canadian oil sands
- 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
- On December 3, 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
- Privately, a number of legislators also expressed growing
frustration at the position and tactics of the European Commission
and Council of Ministers on the draft implementing measures.
- On December 4, 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.
- The ENVI committee's resolution will go to the European
Parliament's plenary in the week commencing December 15. While
the plenary will often vote on the recommendation of committees it
is unclear at this time if the plenary will back the resolution and
reject the draft implementing measures. According to particular
procedure used, the resolution requires the support of a majority
of the legislature's component members (376
votes).3 With political groups split and a busy
legislative agenda it may be difficult for backers of the
resolution to secure the necessary votes.
- Should the plenary back the resolution with sufficient votes
and reject the draft implementing measures the European Commission
will be obliged to withdraw the measures and resubmit new draft
implementing measures at a later date.
- Should the plenary reject the resolution or back the resolution but with insufficient votes the draft implementing measures will be automatically adopted.
1. European Commission: Proposal for a Council directive on laying down calculation methods and reporting requirements pursuant to Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels [COM(2014) 617] (October 6, 2014) [link].
2. European Parliament: Motion for a Resolution pursuant to Rule 106(2), (3) and (4)(c) of the Rules of Procedure on the draft Council Directive ../.../EU laying down calculation methods and reporting requirements pursuant to Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels [2014/2931(RPS)] (November 26, 2014) [link].
3. Article 5a of Council Decision 1999/468/EC of June 28, 1999, laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission OJ L 184 (July 17, 1999) [link].
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