Today Socialists and Democrats in the industry committee in the European Parliament led a progressive coalition to successfully block an attempt by right-wing groups to water down reform to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).
Despite losing crucial votes on amendments to the proposed Market Stability Reserve (MSR), which would have significantly strengthened the ETS, such as bringing the start date forward to 2017, in the final vote the opinion of the parliamentary industry committee drafted by EPP MEP and former Commissioner Antonio Tajani was rejected by a majority of MEPs. This means that Mr Tajani, who was seen as a key figure opposed to strengthening the ETS, now has no mandate to participate in future negotiations with the environment committee and member states.
S&D spokesperson on ETS in the industry committee, MEP Theresa Griffin, said:
"Unfortunately, we were unable to get the early start date for the MSR or neutralise the problems which would have been caused by back-loaded allowances re-entering the market in 2019 and 2020."
"Thankfully, when it came to the final vote on the opinion we managed to secure its rejection and send a strong message on sustainability and jobs."
"Had the opinion been adopted it would have meant the industry committee position would be that MSR should not start until 2021. This would have sent a very negative message to the Parliament's environment committee."
S&D vice-president Kathleen Van Brempt MEP said:
"This short-sightedness of the right is appalling. A strong ETS is needed to modernise European industry, and make it competitive as well as sustainable.
"Although we defeated the right-wing groups by rejecting the opinion in the final vote, we also lost the opportunity to start building an effective ETS, but we Socialists and Democrats will keep up the pressure and insist on a significant strengthening when the environment committee debates the long-term fate of the ETS."
S&D spokesperson on environment and climate change, MEP Matthias Groote, said:
"The vote today clearly shows that we need a more progressive path. We the Socialists and Democrats want a more ambitious proposal, in order to have stability and predictability in the EU's ETS. This is why the MSR has to come into force as soon as possible.
"Stability is key for all sectors to make the necessary investments for sustainable economic growth and job creation. This is why the environment committee will work on an ambitious and progressive proposal, which will strengthen the EU's ETS."