The Week in Brussels

01 September 2006 #SMMT News

In this week’s report:

  • Commission reports on new car emissions
  • Better regulation agenda key to Commission’s work programme
  • Commissioner announces plans to bridge the communication gap
  • European energy and transport – scenarios on energy efficiency
  • Support increases for campaign to scrap Strasbourg Parliament
  • UNEP announces ozone damage will cause harm for longer
  • Sustainable chemistry action plan published EU survey recommends risk assessments in annual reports
  • Week ahead




1. Commission reports on new car emissions

The European Commission has published its annual report on CO2 emissions from new cars, showing 2004 average emissions were 12.4 per cent below 1995 levels. This figure is commended, however the report emphasises that the automotive industry will need to do more if it is to achieve the voluntary commitment of average emissions of 140g/km by 2008/9, a reduction of around 25 per cent from 1995 levels. Commissioners Verheugen and Dimas have stated clearly if industry does not achieve these levels, the introduction of mandatory measures could be considered. The report shows ACEA’s average emissions in 2004 stood at 161g/km, representing a 1.2 per cent reduction on 2003 levels. The Commission recently launched an online consultation to seek the views of the public on measures to further improve cars’ fuel efficiency and reduce their CO2 emissions. A Communication to the European Parliament and Council on the outcome of this review will be presented in the second half of this year. (Source: European commission)



2. Better regulation agenda key to Commission’s work programme

The European Commission has adopted its mid-term review of the Commission work programme for 2006, assessing achievements so far in 2006, and reaffirms the political priorities for this autumn. The Commission’s adoption of these 37 initiatives represents a mid-term implementation rate of almost 40 per cent. Better lawmaking is at the heart of the Commission’s work, and 2006 is the first year during which the Commission fully applies the new Impact Assessment Guidelines adopted in June 2005, which has led to a more lengthy preparation process involving wide consultation and greater use of internal and external expertise. The Commission has also reaffirmed its commitment to the better regulation agenda with a series of new initiatives to enhance delivery of this approach, in particular those on consultation and impact assessment. (Source: European Commission)





3. Commissioner announces plans to bridge the communication gap

Margot Wallström, vice president of the European Commission responsible for Institutional relations and Communication Strategy has announced the 2007 plans for bridging the communications gap between the EU and its citizens. The Commissioner, in outlining the communications action plan, announced there is wide consensus on an EU communication strategy ‘including the need to establish communication as a European policy in its own right and to define the common principles that should guide such a policy’. The Commissioner also highlighted the issue of more partnerships between the Commission and member states – groups such as the CARS 21 high level group are cited as best practice examples of improving relationships between the EU and member states. (Source: European Commission)



4. European energy and transport – Scenarios on energy efficiency

The Commission has published a report examining several scenarios in the field of energy efficiency and renewables, reflecting policies currently under discussion. The scenarios include a high energy efficiency case and a high renewables case and a combined high efficiency and renewables scenario, in which the renewables share reaches 20 per cent in 2020. (Source: BBB/European Commission)



5. UNEP announces ozone damage will cause harm for longer

The ozone layer will take longer to recover from chlorinated pollutant damage than previously thought according to an assessment of stratospheric ozone levels by the United Nations Environmental Programme. (Source: ENDS/UNEP)



6. Support increases for campaign to scrap Strasbourg Parliament

Almost one million EU citizens have signed up to the ‘oneseat’ campaign, which calls for the European Parliament to be based solely in Brussels, rather than split between Brussels and Strasbourg. It is estimated the split costs the European taxpayer €200 million per year. (Source: oneseat)



7. Sustainable chemistry action plan published

The European chemical industry’s technology platform on sustainable chemistry (SusChem) has published an action plan for implementing a 20-year strategic research agenda. The plan focuses on launching projects under eight themes, including energy, sustainable products design and transport. (Source: ENDS)



8. EU survey recommends risk assessments in annual reports

An EU-funded study of industrial risk communication in EU member states has recommended that publicly listed firms be required to include a risk assessment in their annual reports. The survey looks at current practices in three sectors: chemical waste, biotechnology and electricity. (Source: ENDS)



9. Week ahead

European Commission

Weekly meeting – 5 September

No points of interest



Council of Ministers

8-9 September, informal Ecofin meeting, several issues on the agenda including ‘global competitiveness environment’



European Parliament (Strasbourg week)


– Economic and Monetary Affairs (4 Sept): A European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy

– Internal Market (4 Sept): Services in the internal market, type approval

Plenary session:

– 4 Sept: minimising administrative costs imposed by legislation, passenger-car related taxes

– 6 Sept: meeting of the shadow rapporteurs involved in the Euro 5 dossier

Filter News

Update Newsletter