FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
September 27, 2021
By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Parliament members on Monday rejected three attempts by some lawmakers to block the European Union’s proposed rulebook for sustainable investments, as Brussels edges towards completing the first part of the landmark rules.
The European Commission in April proposed the first section of the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy, a complex piece of legislation that from next year will decide which investments can be labelled “sustainable” in the EU.
European Parliament and EU countries are scrutinising the proposal, which includes CO2 limits and other criteria that economic activities like car manufacturing, wind turbines and cement plants must meet to be deemed green investments.
On Monday, Parliament’s environment and economic affairs committees rejected three attempts from lawmakers to object to the proposal. A majority of lawmakers or EU countries could block the proposal.
Pascal Canfin, chair of the environment committee, welcomed the vote results and said the taxonomy would “strengthen EU leadership on green finance rules”.
The three motions had attempted to block the taxonomy proposal on grounds that it was not aligned with existing EU laws, or should have included nuclear energy and gas power plants as green investments.
The Commission is due to publish a second proposal in the coming months, confirming whether the taxonomy will label investments in nuclear and gas as green.
Its decision on those issues has been delayed by months and faced heavy lobbying from EU governments, who disagree on whether the fuels deserve a sustainable label.
A group of 150 campaign groups last week urged Brussels not to label gas as green, and said doing so would promote investments in fossil fuels at a time when Europe aims to curb its dependence on coal, gas and oil.
With its taxonomy, Brussels aims to make climate-friendly projects more visible to investors and steer huge sums of private capital into projects that will help the EU reach its targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Aurora Ellis)