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Diplomats representing member states agreed on Friday November 8 to put the backloading proposal forward for talks.
The current holder of the EU presidency, Lithuania, will now start negotiations with both the European Parliament and the European Commission about the proposal, which would allow the Commission to postpone the sale of 900 million allowances in the emissions trading system (ETS) between 2013 and 2020.
Support for the move from key member state Germany looked uncertain until Monday, when the country’s current minister for the environment, conservation and nuclear safety, Peter Altmaier of the CDU party, reached an agreement with the social-democratic SPD party on backloading.
Coalition talks between the CDU and the SPD are under way after the former fell short of winning an absolute majority in Germany’s general election on September 22 this year.
Press reports have suggested that Poland and Cyprus were the only European Union member states to oppose the proposal on November 8, although this could not be confirmed at the time of publication.
Further news on the proposal looks likely to come from the next meeting of EU environment ministers, or the environment council, scheduled for December 13.
The European Parliament approved an amended version of the original backloading proposal on July 3.
Both the German steel association, WV Stahl, and the European steel association, Eurofer, have previously criticised the proposal, arguing that it would affect the global competitiveness of the European steel industry.
The temporary withholding, or “backloading”, of carbon emissions allowances is back on the agenda in Europe after a renewed move to have the issue debated in the European Parliament.