WARSAW/BRUSSELS, March 2 Poland is challenging
draft carbon market reforms agreed by most European Union
governments this week, saying the deal is not-binding because it
did not have the full backing of the bloc's 28 nations, the
country's environment ministry said on Thursday.
Poland does not rule out taking the issue to the European
Court of Justice to unravel the legislation, once it is adopted,
Environment Ministry spokesman Pawel Mucha told Reuters.
Poland was among nine countries who opposed a deal backed by
19 EU environment ministers on long-awaited reforms of the
Emission Trading System (ETS), which is the EU's flagship policy
to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.
The EU has been trying to reform the system because it has
suffered from an excess supply of carbon permits which depressed
But Poland fears the reforms to the so-called cap-and-trade
system will prove too heavy a burden for its energy-intensive
industrial plants and coal-fired power stations.
The EU's efforts to tackle global warming have increasingly
put Poland at odds with the rest of the 28-nation bloc, which is
keen to maintain leadership in global climate diplomacy.
Poland's Environment Ministry said it felt "cheated" by the
compromise deal, saying it violated the right of each member
state to shape its own energy mix. The ministry said in a
statement that the draft reform proposal adopted by the EU
members was "not binding."
Warsaw is arguing that EU treaties say rules on a country's
choice between different energy sources can only be adopted with
the unanimous consent of the bloc's 28 nations.
Polish diplomats contested Tuesday's compromise deal on the
grounds that the draft text should have been brought to a vote,
insisting the nine member states made up a "blocking minority."
Malta, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said there
was no need for a formal vote on Tuesday because EU nations were
only adopting a common approach to begin negotiations with
European Parliament - the last leg in EU legislation process.
"To be clear, the (European) Council has not adopted a
formal act on the ETS review. This means that the Council did
not proceed to a formal vote. Therefore, there is no basis for
claiming that the wrong voting rules were used," a spokesman for
the Maltese presidency said.
He said a qualified majority of EU countries had backed the
compromise text to start the negotiations with the European
A minimum of 16 member states is required to back the
compromise deal, representing at least 65 percent of the total
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw and Alissa de
Carbonnel in Brussels; Additional reporting Robert-Jan Bartunek
in Brussels. Editing by Jane Merriman)