Finnish MEPs welcome EU climate package but call for stronger action

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Two Finns on the Environment Committee welcomed the compromise deal, while a third argued that the latest proposals do not go far enough.

MEP Silvia Modig (left) ahead of a previous European Parliament vote on the climate package. Image: Silvia Modigin kotialbumi.

The European Parliament on Wednesday approved key elements of the EU’s new climate package.

Finnish MPs on the parliament’s environment committee had mixed reactions to the compromise deal, reached after lengthy wrangling between political blocs in the legislature.

The positions adopted in plenary call for a reform of emissions trading, carbon prices and a climate fund to offset the effects of the green transition.

The compromise was reached after lawmakers rejected the entire carbon market law in a contentious first vote earlier this month, when lawmakers were divided over how quickly to end carbon trading. free permits amid soaring energy costs and inflation, reports Euronews.

“Really strong” decision

Now, the three proposals have been approved by a clear majority after an agreement reached between the three largest groups in Parliament: the centre-right EPP, the Socialists and Democrats S&D group and the centre-liberal Renew group.

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“Parliament’s decision is really strong because all major parties are involved,” said the MEP Nils Torvalds (SPP) of Renew Group told Yle.

MEP Nils Torvalds (SPP) Image: © European Union 2018 – Source: EP

Torvalds, an MEP for a decade, is a member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Legislative Committee. He represents the Swedish People’s Party, part of the European Parliament’s Renew Europe, formerly known as the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (Alde).

“The main difference from the previous proposal is that we now take better account of the special circumstances of our European industry following the war in Russia. At the same time, everyone understands that this will require reductions in accelerated emissions in the future,” Torvalds wrote in a column published Wednesday.

Modig: “The level of ambition is insufficient”

Parliament calls on the EU to introduce carbon tariffs on imports of high-emitting products.

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MEPs also agreed to end the free allocation of carbon allowances to companies. Parliament has agreed that free credits should be phased out by 2032, a tougher stance compared to the proposal rejected two weeks ago. Some MEPs, however, wanted more major reforms to emissions trading.

“The level of ambition is insufficient, it does not take us on the path of the Paris Agreement. That is why I could not vote in favor of it”, commented Silvia Modig (Left), another Finnish MEP from the Environment Committee.

However, according to Modig, the proposal is better than the current situation and a marginal improvement on the original Commission proposal. Therefore, she did not vote against the bill, but rather abstained.

Finland’s third MEP on the committee, former environment minister City Niinisto (Green) of the Greens/European Free Alliance parliamentary group, commented ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

MEP Ville Niinistö (Green) with Modig on a Yle TV show last month. Image: Ilkka Klemola / Yle

“At the end of the negotiations, a majority will probably vote in favor of a stronger climate reform than that of the Commission [stance] and the last vote. The fossil alliance between the EPP and the right has been rejected. Good,” he said on Twitter.

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He confirmed it in another tweet after the vote.

“And so it was, the [European] Parliament has adopted a position which somewhat toughens the Commission’s proposal. Then the emissions trading reform will be finalized with the Council of Ministers, after which the law will be adopted,” the former Greens president wrote.

Higher energy costs to solve

MEPs also backed the Commission’s proposal for a new Social Climate Fund to offset the social impacts of the green transition.

According to Parliament, the fund should be financed by additional income from emissions trading. This is a proposal to extend emissions trading to commercial fuel distribution and buildings.

Among other things, the fund is intended to offset the effects of expensive energy and encourage new climate-friendly investments.

The Parliament still has to reconcile its position with that of the European Council and the Commission, so the content of the climate package could still evolve.

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