(Adds analyst comment, prices, background)
LONDON Feb 3 The European People's Party (EPP),
the biggest grouping in the European Parliament, does not intend
to oppose a fast-track plan to prop up carbon prices, an EPP
official said on Monday.
EPP members in a cross-party industry committee met last
week and decided not to object to shortening the scrutiny period
of the so-called backloading plan to the parliament's Conference
of Committee Chairs (CoCC) on Tuesday, the official said.
A shorter scrutiny period would make it possible for the
European Commission to withdraw 400 million carbon permits from
sale this year, rather than the maximum of 300 million possible
under the standard three-month scrutiny period.
European carbon prices rose nearly six percent to
5.92 euros after the news.
Analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said given the
support among most other political groups, the EPP position
makes it slightly more likely that 400 million permits would be
withdrawn but said the outcome was still uncertain.
"(The EPP position) means the CoCC is likely to recommend a
shortened scrutiny following tomorrow's meeting, and that there
will be an announcement at this week's plenary - which would
mark the start of the 24-hour deadline to raise objections, said
Hege Fjellheim, an analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon.
Once the recommendation is announced in the full plenary
session of the 766-strong assembly, the shorter scrutiny period
will be approved unless 40 MEPs or one political group raise an
objection within 24 hours.
Members of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)
group oppose fast-tracking and will seek to block the measure,
Konrad Szymanski, a Polish ECR member, told Bloomberg on Friday.
"I see it as very likely that there will be an objection -
either by ECR or in any case it shouldn't be too hard to
mobilise 40 out of 766 MEPs - which would delay final clarity
until Feb. 24-27," Fjellheim said.
The ECR, the parliament's fifth biggest group with 57
members, was not immediately available for comment.
An objection in plenary would force a vote among the full
assembly, which, although likely to approve fast-tracking, could
delay the process long enough to ensure the Commission runs out
of time to withdraw the full 400 million permits this year.
(Reporting by Ben Garside; Editing by Dale Hudson and David