EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT – INFORMATION OFFICE IRELAND – http://www.europarl.ie/
CONSULTATION ON TTIP http://frackingfreeireland.org/2014/06/26/eu-consultation-on-ttip/
Juncker states his opposition to fracking
By Roz Bulleid
ENDS Europe, 9 July 2014
Jean-Claude Juncker has told MEPs he is personally opposed to fracking for shale gas because of uncertainties about its long-term consequences.
But Mr Juncker, who was answering questions from Green MEPs at a hearing on Wednesday, could not say whether the new European Commission will propose tighter controls if he becomes its president. MEPs will vote on his election on 15 July.
The Commission has to behave democratically and it is impossible to say exactly what position it will take, the former prime minister of Luxembourg said, a point he repeated several times during the Greens/EFA hearing. He would prefer to take a cautious approach to all new technologies, he added.
Mr Juncker got a cheer from the MEPs when he expressed concerns about the EU approval system for genetically modified crops, which leaves the Commission forced to back crops when member states cannot agree a position. The whole system is not very transparent and there could be potential for reform, he said.
When asked about climate and energy targets, Mr Juncker was more cautious. He wants ambition and said the UN climate talks in Paris next year deserve attention but stressed he would need to study the dossiers in more detail before taking a position.
One area where Mr Juncker was more certain was on the benefits of energy efficiency. As things stand, he said he would favour a 2030 target that requires the EU to keep improving its efficiency by 2% a year beyond 2020.
The current energy commissioner Günther Oettinger, who plans to serve another term in the Commission, is thought to back a 27% target on energy efficiency based on energy intensity rather than total energy consumption.
Asked about the trade deal the Commission is currently negotiating with the US, which campaigners fear will allow private companies to challenge the EU’s environmental rules, Mr Juncker stressed that the normal, publicly accountable, court system should be used instead of private courts or arbitration panels.
Consumer rights, food security and data protection must be protected too, he said.
Mr Juncker also emphasised the need for more transparency in the EU policy making process. The transparency register for lobbyists must be mandatory, he said, and apply to all institutions including the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers has given Mr Juncker its backing, despite fierce opposition from the UK, which does not think he will do enough to reform the EU. The Luxembourger must win a majority in the Parliament to be elected.
If he is successful, he will work with member states to select his team of commissioners. MEPs will also have to approve the selections.
Reacting to his comments on fracking, lobby group Shale Gas Europe said shale gas developed within an environmentally sustainable framework can substitute more carbon-intensive fuels, improve energy security and offer a range of economic benefits.
On 8th of July , at the European Commission in Brussels took place a very important event, the Launching of the European and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction, organized by JRC Directorate.
The official purpose of this network is to gather scientific information concerning shale gas and hydraulic fracturing form all the parties involved: industry, academia, NGOs, civil society. Joint Research Center has received a mandate to establish and manage this network in close cooperation with DG Environment and DG Energy and involving also DG Research & Innovation (RTD), DG Climate Action (CLIMA) and DG Enterprise and Industry (ENTR) The list of speakers was impressive: all Directors of EC ‘s several DGs- moderator was Vladimir Šucha, General Director, DG JRC :
Marco Landolfi, permanent representative of Italy at EC
Dominique Ristori, General Director, DG ENER,
Karl Falkenberg, General Director, DG ENV, Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General, DG RTD,
Jos Delbeke, General Director, DG CLIMA
Mart van Bracht, President of EuroGeo Surveys.
Nicholas Banfield, Director , DG ENV,
Andreea Strachinescu, Head of Unit, DG ENER,
Yesterday, (8 July 2014) the Commission launched a Science & Technology Network on Unconventional Fossil Fuels, which will be coordinated – not by DG Environment – but by the Joint Research Centre’s Institute for Energy & Transport (based in the Netherlands).
- Need to combine competitiveness, sustainability and security
- Need for an adequate legal framework that is science-based, with adequate governance
- Need for regulators to keep up with technological developments
- Sharing knowledge across the EU
- Involve different stakeholders, including civil society
- A ‘call for expression of interest’ will be issued in the next few weeks to invite stakeholders to participate.
- A first meeting will be held in October to decide on tasks and divide the work in working groups.
- The Commission will decide on the need for new legislation on shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels by August next year. The data generated by this network will feed into the Commission’s discussions.
- The Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Geological Survey as well as the EPA.
- A contract was also signed with the International Institute for Applied systems analysis in Vienna (if my notes are correct, to conduct a study into the geopolitical impact of the shale gas ‘revolution’)
- The Association of the European Geological Surveys has been contracted to develop better experience in assessing the EU’s shale gas potential.
Withdrawn Access to Justice and Soil Directives must be replaced
d-soil-directives-must-be-replaced/ (THIS LINK MIGHT NOT BE ACTIVE)
The European Commission’s withdrawal of two crucial pieces of environmental
policy at the moment that citizens across Europe are voting in the European
elections sends a bad signal as to what Europe’s priorities are.
The formal withdrawal of the 2003 proposal for a directive on access to
justice underlines the urgent need for the Commission to speed up its work
on a new legislative proposal in this area. Jeremy Wates, EEB Secretary
General reacted: “A new legislative proposal in this area is urgently
needed, not only to create a more democratic Europe, not only to improve the
implementation of environmental law, not only to create a more level playing
field for business but also in order to ensure that the EU is fully in
compliance with its obligations under international law, namely the Aarhus
The withdrawal of the soil directive after almost ten years of being blocked
by a handful of Member States reveals a disturbing lack of vision and
understanding of the importance of European soils, which poses a direct
threat to our food security and limits our ability to tackle climate change
and prevent the loss of biodiversity.
The Commission should swiftly come forward with new proposals in these areas
and show that Europe is serious about guaranteeing citizens’ rights and
protecting crucial natural resources.
Announcement in Official Journal of the European Union:
EU ELECTIONS – Europe
European Citizens Initiative
Dear potential partners! [Ladies and Gentlemen, or Dear Sir/Dear Madam is too steif!]
the TTIPunfairhandelbar coalition (http://www.ttip-unfairhandelbar.de) has already succeeded in launching an intense and critical debate in Germany on the problems with the TTIP and CETA free trade agreements. In order to take the debate beyond Germany’s borders and to bring it in a formal way to the doors of the EU institutions, the coalition has decided to launch a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The example of the “Right2Water” ECI has shown that this tool can really be politically effective. An ECI needs to collect 1 million signatures across the EU within 12 months and the signatures have to come from at least one quarter of the Member States (i.e. currently 7 states).
We would very much like …………… to support us in the planned ECI on TTIP. We want to register and publicise the ECI in July so that we can begin collecting signatures in September.
Preparations for the ECI are currently being coordinated by Campact, Attac, BUND, Umweltinstitut München and Mehr Demokratie. As of now, 77 organisations from 12 EU Member States are supporting the ECI. In addition to Germany, the level of support in Portugal, Luxembourg, Great Britain and Finland (at the very least) is strong enough for us to be fairly confident of reaching the country quota. Our goal is to expand the coalition to include at least 100 support organisations by the time the signature collection begins, and to cover as many EU states as possible. Judging by the current state of the preparations we believe it very likely that we will achieve the required 1 million signatures.
Enclosed [or, if digital: Attached] you will find a description of the campaign, including the formal wording of the ECI as it has to be presented to the Commission at registration. In addition, I am sending you a current supporter list and a checklist for possible support measures. For example, any organisation supporting the ECI should in any event distribute information through its own email mailing list and also publicise the ECI through its own website, Facebook page and Twitter.
If you have any questions about the ECI process or the planned campaign, please do not hesitate to contact me. Since we want to register the ECI in July, it would be great if you could let us know as soon as possible whether you will support this important initiative.
Yours very sincerely,
Opposition to TTIP is growing
EIA vote results – 528 in favour, 138 against
Posted on March 12, 2014
A disappointing result. Allthough ….. read comment by Geert from Food and Water Watch – Geert – EIA eu vote comment
‘ The fight at EU level is over for now, but the fight at national level is just beginning! You can ask your respective national parliaments and governments to require a mandatory EIA at national level. This will result in a patchwork of different regulations across Europe, complicating life for the operators’
The report was adopted by 528 in favour, 138 against.
There was a genuine conflict of interest in this report as Marian Harkin outlines below. Bird Life did lobby our MEP’s to vote in favour (the report had some good items in it ) and the anti fracking campaign was lobbying the MEP’s to vote against.
Here a few results how the Irish Mep did vote.
Sean Kelly – against
Mairead McGuinness – FG against
Marian Harkin – against. (she explains the issue below)
Nessa Childers – only acknowledgment
The other Irish MEP’s didn’t respond and didn’t come back to me (despite
Here are the vote results
Please note the vote of Pat the Cope Gallagher should be rectified into a no vote!! – http://www.votewatch.eu/en/assessment-of-the-effects-of-certain-public-and-private-projects-on-the-environment-draft-legislativ-18.html
The Commission Recommendation adopted on the 22 January is published in the EU Official Journal
2030 framework for climate and energy policies
EP Own initiative – Opinion report
Brussels, 22 January 2014
Environment: European Commission recommends minimum principles for shale gas
Today the European Commission adopted a Recommendation aiming to ensure that proper environmental and climate safeguards are in place for “fracking” – the high-volume hydraulic fracturing technique used notably in shale gas operations. The Recommendation should help all Member States wishing to use this practice address health and environmental risks and improve transparency for citizens. It also lays the ground for a level playing field for industry and establishes a clearer framework for investors.
The Recommendation is accompanied by a Communication that considers the opportunities and challenges of using “fracking”, to extract hydrocarbons. Both documents are part of a wider initiative by the Commission to put in place an integrated climate and energy policy framework for the period up to 2030.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Shale gas is raising hopes in some parts of Europe, but is also a source of public concern. The Commission is responding to calls for action with minimum principles that Member States are invited to follow in order to address environmental and health concerns and give operators and investors the predictability they need.”
Building on existing EU legislation and complementing it where necessary, the Recommendation invites Member States in particular to:
- Plan ahead of developments and evaluate possible cumulative effects before granting licences;
- Carefully assess environmental impacts and risks;
- Ensure that the integrity of the well is up to best practice standards;
- Check the quality of the local water, air, soil before operations start, in order to monitor any changes and deal with emerging risks;
- Control air emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions, by capturing the gases;
- Inform the public about chemicals used in individual wells, and
- Ensure that operators apply best practices throughout the project.
The Commission will continue facilitating the exchange of information with Member States, industry and civil society organisations on the environmental performance of shale gas projects.
EU Member States are invited to apply the principles within six months and, from December 2014 onwards, inform the Commission each year about measures that they have put in place. The Commission will monitor the application of the Recommendation with a publicly available scoreboard that will compare the situation in different Member States. It will review the effectiveness of this approach in 18 months.
Conventional natural gas is trapped in reservoirs underground. Shale gas is different – it too is a natural gas, but it is trapped inside rocks that have to be broken open (“fractured” or “fracked”) to release the gas. In the EU there is limited experience to date of high-volume hydraulic fracturing on a large scale and at high intensity. The practice involves injecting high volumes of water, sand and chemicals into a borehole to crack the rock and facilitate gas extraction. So far experience in Europe has been focused essentially on low volume hydraulic fracturing in some conventional and tight gas reservoirs, mostly in vertical wells, constituting only a small part of past EU oil and gas operations. Drawing on the North American experience where the high volume hydraulic fracturing has been broadly used, operators are now testing further this practice in the EU.
The environmental impacts and risks need to be managed appropriately. As more wells need to be drilled over a wider area to obtain the same amount of gas as in conventional wells, the cumulative impacts need to be properly assessed and mitigated.
Most EU environmental legislation precedes the practice of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. For this reason certain environmental aspects are not comprehensively addressed in current EU legislation. This has led to public concern and calls for EU action.
For more information:
The Communication and the Recommendation can be found at:
More details on climate and energy policy:
Audiovisual material, including a VNR on shale gas and an extensive B-roll, can be downloaded from tvlink.org
MEMO/14/42 : Q&A on shale gas
Antoine Simon: (FOE E)
We got access yesterday to the Communication but also to the Recommendations that the European Commission are going to make on the 22nd January.
You can find an article from Bloomberg reporting about it: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-13/eu-to-offer-minimum-guidelines-for-fracking-shale-draft-shows
EU leaves shale gas out of stricter law on environmental studies – http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/20/eu-environment-shalegas-idUSL6N0JZ3JT20131220