The final week before the Christmas break sees the institutions already winding down with the work of the parliamentary committees resuming on 9 January. However, the work of the EU Council, in particular the TELCO (energy configuration) Council, which will focus on reducing methane emissions, the RePowerEU plan and monitoring the progress of the gas package, will continue as normal.
Monday 19 December 2022. The Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (Energy) Council will meet in Brussels. First, the EU energy ministers will seek broad consensus on the plan to reduce methane emissions in the energy industry. The proposed legislation, part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, would oblige the oil, gas and coal industries to measure, record and verify (MRV) methane emissions. It would propose strict restrictions on the detection and repair of methane leaks, as well as restrict venting and flaring. The proposal includes direct methane emissions from the oil, gas and coal industries, as well as biomethane after its release into the gas grid. Subsequently, the Council will work to adopt a general approach on the proposed REPowerEU directive, which would amend European legislation on renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings. Finally, the Presidency will provide an update on the state of play on the gas package, which includes a proposal for a directive and a regulation on uniform internal market rules for renewable and natural gas as well as hydrogen.
Tuesday 20 December 2022. EU environment ministers will meet to discuss a proposal for a law on natural recovery at the Environment Council in Brussels. At the centre of the agenda is the restoration of European habitats, 80 % being in poor condition. The plan would set legally binding targets and requirements for nature restoration in each of the specified habitats, ranging from forests and farmland to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems. By 2030, planned initiatives should cover at least 20 % of the EU’s land and marine territories and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.
To achieve the ecosystem-specific targets, Member States will need to implement effective, area-based restoration initiatives and prepare in advance by drafting national restoration plans.