EU must not give in to Canadian lobbying on the Fuel Quality Directive, say S&Ds

greenhouse gas intensity of fuels between conventional crudes and unconventional sources, such as tar sands/natural bitumen, oil shale and coal-to-liquid

The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament regrets that a blocking minority in the Parliament – led by the conservatives – voted against the objection to the Commission's controversial proposal on implementing the quality of petrol and diesel fuels directive.

The S&Ds believe that the implementation proposal is detrimental to the overall aim of the directive, namely to reduce CO2 emissions and move towards a carbon-free energy supply in Europe.

There are significant differences in the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels between conventional crudes and unconventional sources, such as tar sands/natural bitumen, oil shale and coal-to-liquid. However the Commission wants to drop the obligation to differentiate between more and less-polluting fuels, thus improving the market conditions for countries like Canada to sell Europe their tar-sands oil.

S&D spokesperson on health and the environment, Matthias Groote MEP, said:

"I understand that there is strong pressure from some Canadian lobbies to open the European market for specific fuel types. We will not let this legislation be watered down by any pressure coming from outside, especially not from those trying to claim there is a link between this legislation and the recently-concluded Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA).

"The Commission should make sure that the calculation methods for the lifecycle of greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles stimulate the transition to carbon-free energy in Europe."

S&D vice-president Kathleen Van Brempt MEP said:

"The proposal as it now stands is inefficient and unfair to those innovators and producers who are investing in cleaner transport.

"A week after the climate talks in Lima and a year ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris it would be cynical to lower European standards and it would undermine the EU's credibility. There is too much at stake and the EU must persuade other countries to move forward."

S&D MEP Jo Leinen, who co-signed the parliamentary resolution, added:

"It is a dangerous precedent if a majority in the Parliament permits a weakening of environmental standards. The Fuel Quality Directive is not linked to the EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement and we will take a position on each one on its merit. 

"I am puzzled by the fact that the European Commission's proposal ignores its own impact assessment. How does that fit into the 'better regulation' agenda?"