Sorry Folks, But Poland Does Have A Veto On EU Energy Policy
Poland’s use of a veto to block the EU’s draft energy roadmap for 2050 has no legal basis, according to internal legal documents from the Council of the European Union, obtained by EurActiv. There is only one problem with this interpretation: It is outdated. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 194 (2) gives member states a veto over the choice between different energy sources and the general structure of energy supply.
EurActiv: Poland’s veto on EU climate laws ‘has no legal basis’
EurActiv: Polish media have reported that Warsaw may try to wield a veto against measures supporting carbon market reform and the EU’s low carbon roadmap during a meeting of EU environment ministers taking place in Luxembourg today (25 October).
The Polish veto is anticipated as the Council, representing the 27 EU member states, tries to adopt a common position for the UN climate summit in Doha next month.
But Warsaw’s block on climate issues has no legal basis and may be circumvented easily by other EU member states as unanimity is not required to vote the common position at today’s Environment Council meeting, EurActiv has learned.
“A qualified majority of weighted votes in favour cast by at least two-thirds of members” is all that such decisions require, according to a legal opinion cited by the Council’s General-Secretariat (GSC) in response to a transparency request by the environmental group WWF.
The advice was written by the then-legal counsel, Jean-Claude Piris in 2004, in response to a November 2003 dispute at the Council over the breakdown of the Stability and Growth Pact.
“Unanimity is just a habit from the past to look for consensus,” said Jo Leinen, a German Socialist MEP and former chair of the European Parliament’s environment and constitutional affairs committees.
“There is no legal basis for the Environment Council to take decisions unanimously and with 27 members in the EU now, it has proved to be impractical and counter-productive.”
Leinen called on environment ministers to raise the question at today’s Council to prevent any further loss of the EU’s credibility in international climate talks. But it remains to be seen whether Warsaw will broach the subject first.