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“We know that the Commission doesn’t like our proposal,” an expert from an Eastern European country told EurActiv. He explained that his Eastern colleagues do not question the methodology of the Commission, except for on one point – the reference year. “The Commission methodology is OK, it tries to achieve a balance,” another Eastern expert said, adding that the seven do not question the EU executive’s plans to require industry to carry the largest share of the emissions reductions.

Barbara Helfferich, the Commission’s environment spokesperson, told EurActiv that one of the main reasons for choosing 2005 as the reference year is that before that date, there was no harmonised way of measuring and monitoring the emissions. She added that the Commission proposals had taken into account the countries’ GDP and that a redistribution system for poorer countries was foreseen. Helfferich also said the contribution by the Eastern European countries to lowering emissions before 2005 was not the result of climate-friendly policies, but rather of the ongoing restructuring of these countries’ economies. She added that Commissioners Piebalgs and Dimas had visited the member states’ capitals to explain the Commission’s approach. The EU executive is prepared to listen the countries’ views at the Council meetings on 5 and 6 June, she said.

In the meantime, Poland has tabled a proposal of its own, seeking compensation through a less radical mechanism, basically by asking to be compensated via a larger redistribution of auctioning proceeds.

The Seven have indicated that they do not consider the Polish proposal to contradict their initiative but consider it to be in parallel to their approach. “We are not a blocking minority and we are not trying to block anything,” said an expert from the group of seven, insisting that the seven were not questioning the fundamentals of the Commission proposal, such as the basic architecture of the ETS. He added that the seven were willing to reach an agreement as expected, hopefully under the French Presidency, by the end of 2008 or in early 2009.

From EurActiv

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