In the environment sector, Lithuania is getting ready for the busy agenda of the Presidency of the EU Council2013-02-27
On 25-26 February, Minister of Environment Valentinas Mazuronis paid a visit to Brussels, where he met with European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, the management of the Directorate-General for the Environment, and the members of the European Parliament.
During the meetings, the issues of the environment sector, for which Lithuania will be responsible during its Presidency of the EU Council, were discussed. According to the Minister, the Ministry of Environment will have to deal with one of the largest workloads. Almost 100 meetings of different working groups will have to be convened, and the Council of Ministers will have to be chaired in Brussels and Luxembourg. Ten events, namely, an informal meeting of Environment Ministers and nine meetings of high-level experts and managers from different fields, will be held in Vilnius. Fourteen international forums, in which Lithuanian will have to coordinate the participation of EU representatives, will be organised in different countries around the world.
“One of the priority areas in the field of environment during the Lithuanian Presidency, which I have discussed with the Commissioners as well, will be climate change issues. They are relevant to the whole of Europe, including our country as well”, said Valentinas Mazuronis after the meeting with European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard. During the period of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council, the proposed legal acts regarding the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gasses Regulation, accounting for greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport, etc., will be addressed. The preparation for the UN Common Climate Change Convention Conference, which will be held in Poland in November this year, will demand great efforts and administrative capacities of the country presiding over the EU Council. In the event attended by the highest-ranking representatives from different countries around the world, Lithuania will have to ensure efficient work of the EU representatives, coordinate the actions of the EU and represent it in international negotiations.
During the meeting held with European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik, the main issues related to legal regulation in the field of environmental protection were discussed. The 7th Environmental Action Programme, which will establish the strategic objectives of environmental policy until 2020 in the fields of climate change, biological diversity, use of natural resources and waste management, was reviewed. One of Lithuania’s priorities is to seek progress in negotiations by improving the regulation of environmental impact assessment of planned economic activities at the EU level and ensuring its more effective application and compatibility with international commitments.
During the meeting with the Commissioner for the Environment, the Minister presented the topics for debate in the informal meeting of Environment Ministers, which will be held in Vilnius in July. “During this informal meeting held in Vilnius, we will discuss the issue of shale gas extraction that is relevant to Lithuania and other European countries”, said Valentinas Mazuronis. Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik mentioned the document of the European Commission on risk assessment of shale gas to be approved at the end of this year. Besides the urgent climate change issues, discussions during the meeting of the ministers held in Vilnius will also be focussed on the implementation of the EU Biological Diversity Strategy intended to halt biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. According to Valentinas Mazuronis, due to the continued economic and financial hard times, there is a threat that not all countries will be able to allocate sufficient funds for the preservation of biological diversity.
The Minister discussed the issues of work organisation in Brussels with Karl Falkenberg, Director-General of the Directorate-General for the Environment. During the Presidency period, over 40 different issues related to environmental protection and climate change will be tackled in the working groups of the Council; therefore, efficient work is possible only by maintaining close cooperation with all the EU departments.
In the European Parliament, Valentinas Mazuronis met with Carl Schlyter, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Members of the Committee Sandrine Belier and Andrea Zanoni, and Coordinators of the Political Groups Represented in the Committee Richard Seeber, Peter Liese, Linda McAvan, Satu Hassi and Chris Davies, who draft reports on the legal acts related to environmental protection and climate change, present them in plenary meetings and actively participate in their adoption process. “Close cooperation between the country presiding over the EU Council and the European Parliament is necessary in order to ensure a smooth EU legislative process”, stated Valentinas Mazuronis.
Information by the Ministry of Environment, tel: 8~706 63488
27 February 2013