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NEWS: Greek MEP visits Canada to defend the EFQD

CBC reports, “A member of the European Parliament says he’s surprised the Canadian government is lobbying on behalf of oil companies in Europe. Kriton Arsenis, a Greek member of the Social Democratic Alliance, says he expected to hear from oil companies who object to EU plans to label Canadian oil sands oil dirtier than conventional fuel (but instead heard more from the Canadian government). …Arsenis is meeting with MPs in Ottawa to explain the EU’s plans to add Canadian oil sands bitumen to its fuel quality directive. …Canada doesn’t export much oil to Europe yet, but could in the future. The fuel quality directive would make Alberta’s main export more expensive for European customers.”

The National Post adds, “Arsenis, 34, who met with some of his Canadian counterparts from opposition parties in a series of meetings Wednesday, said he was actually hoping to get feedback from the government on Europe’s proposed climate policies to improve them. But instead, he received an angry response from Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver who publicly criticized the foreign visit, blaming it on the opposition New Democrats. …Canada appears to be the only country attempting to lobby the European Parliament in order to weaken its climate policies, Arsenis said.”

And the Globe and Mail notes, “The Harper government has lobbied aggressively to derail the directive, and won some allies, notably the British government of David Cameron. The regulation is now being considered by a technical committee of member EU countries, which is expected to put it to a vote on Dec. 2. in its lobbying effort, before sending it back to the European Parliament (where it is expected to be voted on within the next couple of months).”

Council of Canadians climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue met with Arsenis in Ottawa today. To read her blog on the day, please go to

Arsenis will be speaking tomorrow at 4 pm at the Upper Library, Massey College (4 Devonshire Place) at the University of Toronto. He will be joined by Nusa Urbancic (Transport & Environment) and Keith Stewart (Greenpeace Canada). The event is hosted by Climate Action Network Canada, the Council of Canadians, the Climate Change Lawyers Network, and Greenpeace Canada. Space is limited, so please RSVP to

Take action!
To tell the European Parliament that you disagree with the Harper government’s lobbying on behalf of oil companies and that you support the European Fuel Quality Directive, please go to this Council of Canadians action alert at