By Kate Abnett and Simon Jessop
BRUSSELS – Lawmakers have urged the European Union to allow the public to give feedback on its planned green investment rules for gas and nuclear energy, and to let European Parliament weigh in on the divisive proposal, in a letter seen by Reuters.
The European Commission is attempting to finalize rules to define climate-friendly investments, and on New Year’s Eve sent EU countries a draft plan to label gas and nuclear energy as green – sparking a political battle between states who disagree on the fuels’ environmental merits.
Countries and experts advising on the “sustainable finance taxonomy” have until Friday to give feedback. The Commission will then publish the final proposal, and EU countries and Parliament would have four months to study them. A majority of lawmakers or a super-majority of EU countries could veto them – but they cannot make changes to the proposal.
That process has not satisfied EU lawmakers, who have not yet been formally asked for their views on the latest draft.
In a letter to the Commission, dated Jan. 18, the chairs of Parliament’s environment (ENVI) and economy (ECON) committees criticised Brussels’ handling of the “important and controversial” proposal.
Sending the draft late on New Year’s Eve with a 12-day feedback period “cannot be seen to live up to previously established good practises in this respect,” the letter said. The Commission later extended the feedback deadline to Jan. 21.
The letter asked the Commission to open the draft rules to a public consultation. That would typically last four weeks.
A consultation in 2020 on the Commission’s first proposal for the climate taxonomy – which it later removed the gas and nuclear sections from, amid intense lobbying – received over 46,000 responses. The Commission also consulted three expert bodies on issues around nuclear last year.
“To help the procedure advance in a more transparent way, we request the organisation of a meeting on the draft Delegated Act in the very near future in order to discuss the ECON and ENVI’s views before its formal adoption,” the letter said.
The Commission said it had received the letter and would reply in due course.