The Edmonton Journal reports, “A key committee representing all 27 European Union member nations met last Friday but didn’t vote on the so-called fuel quality directive…” On Tuesday, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver boasted, “I’m not surprised…that they didn’t go ahead because I don’t think they would have necessarily won the vote.”
But Fredrik Erixon, of the European Centre for International Political Economy, says, “My hunch is that there is a sufficient majority among member states that will back it” and that the fuel quality directive is also supported by the European Commission and the European Parliament. To that, Oliver says, “I’m not saying (we have) the majority, I haven’t counted all the votes. But there are a fair number of countries that are concerned about how it will impact on their interests.”
Recent news reports have indicated that the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland do not back the passage of the fuel quality directive. But, backing Erixon’s assertion, the Guardian UK has said this puts them in “a minority among EU countries.”
There is reason for caution though. Greenpeace UK says, “A majority of European countries must back the plan for it to become law, and right now the vote could go either way because of a UK-led diplomatic offensive to scupper it.” The Edmonton Journal reports, “The committee is scheduled to meet again with commission officials in mid-January.” It is believed that meeting will be on January 19.
To counter the Harper government’s lobbying against the fuel quality directive, the Council of Canadians:
1- is asking Canadians to send a message to Members of the European Parliament to express support for the fuel quality directive, http://canadians.org/eu-fqd
2- supported ads about the tar sands in newspapers in the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands (key countries that need to be swayed on this issue), http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12409
3- wrote to all MEPs asking them to ignore the Harper government’s lobbying against the fuel quality directive, http://canadians.org/media/documents/Letter-MEPs-CETA-tarsands-1011.pdf
4- commissioned a legal opinion by Steven Shrybman that says, “CETA negotiations (could be used) as a tool for constraining the ability of the EU to pass regulations or other domestic measures that would differentiate between products based on their carbon content,” http://canadians.org/blog/?p=4549
5- sent a letter to Harper government officials saying that Canada should stop lobbying the European Parliament and European Commission to weaken the fuel quality directive, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6434.
For more, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=5928.