EU-Skeptic Parties Unlikely to Focus on Carbon, Consultancy Says

The U.K. Independence Party and the French National Front are unlikely to compete for key posts in the European Parliament environment committee, which leads work on carbon-market legislation, according to G+Europe consultancy.

Laurent Donceel, director at the Brussels-based firm, which advises companies on EU public affairs, comments in an interview today about elections to the EU Parliament, which ended on May 25.

ON IMPACT OF ELECTION ON EU CARBON MARKET REFORM

“Work at technical level will remain in the hands of experienced MEPs such as German socialist Matthias Groote, Luxembourgish Green Claude Turmes or German conservative Peter Liese. A German-style grand coalition will be needed to find compromises on the key dossiers.”

“I think it is unlikely far-right and far-left MEPs will compete to get key posts in the European Parliament’s energy and climate committees ITRE and ENVI, and therefore I don’t see them blocking progress on energy and climate-change dossiers as one of their priorities.”

“However, the departure of experienced MEPs such as British Liberal Chris Davies, French Conservative Sophie Auconie or Finnish Conservative Eija-Riitta Korhola are leaving dossiers such as the structural reform of the ETS or the development carbon capture and storage technology in Europe up for grabs again.”

“This means the impact of the EU elections will be less in far-right and left parties, but rather new and less experienced MEPs.”

ON EU CLIMATE AND ENERGY POLICIES:

“Climate and energy dossiers during the next European Parliament are unlikely to feature high on MEPs’ agendas. Given the recession that has hit Europe in the past years, this is barely a surprise. As a result, candidates campaigning for the European elections focused on job creation, immigration and growth, giving little attention to energy and climate topics.”

“In parallel, energy and climate change, once the bread and butter of fringe parties, has in the past decade slowly made its way into the programs of most mainstream political parties. This has stripped Green and sometimes Liberal parties of their core dossiers, pushing them to campaign over issues usually far from their original raison d’être such as fiscal policy or international trade files.”

“The two major political parties in the future European Parliament, the center-right EPP with about 28% of the votes and 213 seats and the S&D with 25.7% of the votes and 190 seats have in the past years joined the fringe in supporting European climate and energy policies.”

“The recent debate about the EU 2030 climate and energy framework orchestrated by Belgian MEP Anne Delvaux showed that there was wide support among most political groups for strong commitments on energy and climate change at EU level. This is unlikely to change.”

ON ENERGY MARKET INTEGRATION:

“The integration of European energy markets and the decarbonisation of Europe’s economy will remain on the agenda, but will be approached from a competitiveness and costs perspective. This is likely to lead to European policies enabling the development of national energy plans, indigenous energy sources and the use of cheaper energy sources, such as coal.”

“Concerns about the risks of carbon leakage, which could be attributed to an EU not seen as doing enough for its industry, will trigger demands for stronger and more protectionist action at the WTO to stop what some see as unfair competition and calls to impose import levies on carbon-intensive raw materials and finished products imported into the EU.”

“Some of the fringe extreme right and left parties have made regaining control over strategic economic sectors such as energy one of their priorities.”

“Moving away from what some see as the EU liberal dogma, there could be calls for more lenient and flexible use of state aid to allow member states to pursue a more radical transition to green economy.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Brussels at ekrukowska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net Andrew Clapham, Jones Hayden

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