During the coming months, EBA will be working on its policy strategy for the next years and determining its goals in view of the European elections of 26 May and the consequent new EU mandate. Until now, the first quarter of 2019 has brought intense policy-discussions before the last plenary session of the current mandate taking place this week in Strasbourg puts the next policy decisions on stand-by until the new Parliament starts its political activities in July. We will have to wait a bit more, until the last quarter of this year, to know the names of the new Commissioners and the results of the Brexit negotiations after the last extension granted by the EU.
Against this background of political changes, lively discussions have been fuelling the activity of the European capital to determine also the role of gas in the future EU energy mix. EBA is actively working to align its priorities and actions with different partner organisations and discuss its own positioning with members in the recently started working group ‘Future of Gas’.
New transport policies are also being introduced and old ones are reviewed. The Clean Vehicles Directive has been amended and new CO2 standards for Light-Duty Vehicles introduced. The Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (DAFI) is entering the review process and EBA is providing its input through the European Commission’s expert group ‘Sustainable Transport Forum’. In addition, we have also participated in the Commission’s public consultation on the DAFI calling for EU-wide targets for biomethane infrastructure and stronger national strategies.
EBA keeps advocating circular economy through for the use of digestate as bio-fertiliser in the agricultural sector. This work has ended-up with a rather positive outcome, as the new Fertiliser Regulation has been agreed on by the EU institutions and digestate will finally be included in the Annex V of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). Digestate products will therefore be exempted from the REACH registration requirements.
Many other policy discussions are still going on concerning the implementation of RED II, the Sector Coupling of Gas and Electricity or and the development of support schemes for biogas/biomethane. EBA will continue its intense work to ensure favourable consideration of biogas and biomethane in all EU policies relevant for our sector.
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