Today, the European Parliament’s political groups were to finalise the compromise amendments on Claude Turmes’s report on the Energy Efficiency Directive. This is interesting because this compromise text will be the one that will be voted on 28 February in the Parliament’s Industry, Transport and Energy Committee – ITRE in EU jargon. Except for major suprises, this text will end up being the Parliament’s position on the directive.
Today’s negotiations were supposed to last until lunch time between representatives of the main political groups. However, no news yet (at least officially) on whether a deal was struck; considering what EurActiv wrote on Tuesday, it did not seem like positions had changed very much from what we have described on this blog so far.
In a nutshell, there is a large consensus for an ambitious approach on the directive from the far left (GUE-NGL), the Liberals (ALDE) and the Social Democrats (S&D). This consensus extends to a significant share of the Conservatives (EPP), whom have immense difficulties finding a common voice behind the divisive Markus Pieper (shadow rapporteur for the EPP group).
At the same time, Claude Turmes still needs a large consensus with all major political groups on an ambitious Parliament position if he wants to stand a chance in negotiations with the European Council; a Council that stands firmly on its ground. Reading between the deceiving lines of diplomatic talk, the statement on Tuesday by the Council’s Danish Presidency was a warning to the Parliament. It seemed to say “if you want your first reading agreement by end of June you should better knock it down a notch”. But, perhaps this is overinterpreting?
In any case, it will be interesting to read reports in the EU press tomorrow (too bad for the European Voice which publishes on Wednesdays!). It would hardly be a surprise, however, if we learnt that negotiations had stalled and will need continue next week; with MEPs in their constituencies for “green week” (sic) then, one could arguably say that an agreement is “now or never”.
With this blog’s title, it would be horrible to leave our readers without at least the beginning of an answer; unfortunately, it won’t be much more than an educated guess: we do believe that MEPs did cut a deal on the Energy Efficiency Directive today.
For the real answer, we’ll see tomorrow!