Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Committee of the Regions - ENVE Commission Report

EU Commissioner Wella  was  dead centre in my field of view for the Cttee of Regions meeting
Today was my first meeting as Co-ordinator of the European Alliance on the European Committee of the Regions. I was finding my feet and working my way round the procedures. What matters in the Committee of the Regions are 'Opinions'. These are not your 'common or garden' opinions spouted by some guy in the pub or by a foaming mouthed Tory in a Council meeting. These are the representative opinions of the EU body representing Local and Regional Government and therefore have some significance. I'm still finding my feet but have a few ideas about 'opinions' I may want to pursue later.

As our Groups Coordinator I  have however been able to support other members opinions. The one I supported today was that of Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas on Ocean Energy where he is looking to develop a common approach to wind and tidal power across the EU. One that benefits local authorities and the communities they serve. Happy to support that. This is developing technology and policy area that needs careful development and thought. So exactly the area that the Committee of the Regions needs to be working on.

Star guest at today's meeting was EU Commissioner Wella who is working on the EU Energy Union and broader Environment policies. I asked about waste policy and pressed him on what he meant by 'ambitious' targets to reduce and recycle waste. The suspicion is that he is trying to actually dampen ambition and perhaps take more account of business interests than environmental ones. The other issue I raised with him was what action could be taken by the EU to tackle the UK and our abysmal record on renewable energy. Shamefully we look set to fail to achieve our diminished target. The EU average target is 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. The UK target is just 15% but even that is looking unattainable. They can slap a dirty great fine on the UK but the alternative in the mean time is to seek support from the EU under the 'infringements tool'. I know absolutely nothing about this at present but I think I'll make it my business to find out more about it.  

No comments:

Post a Comment