Seeing Eye-to-Eye: Elvestuen & Cañete

ElvestuenMinister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen (Liberal Party).Photo:

The first formal meeting between the new Norwegian climate minister and the EU climate commissioner concluded with both agreeing that a pending EU climate scheme may face delay in addressing Norwegian concerns over technical language, but won’t suffer any policy hurdles.


Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen (Liberal Party) held his first ministerial meeting with EU climate commissionerMiguel Arias Cañete in Brussels on Monday, March 5th. Commenting upon the meeting, Elvenstuen states that he sees current negotiations between Norway and the EU over climate agreements as taking longer than previously anticipated, but only in hashing out technical details rather than over serious differences in policy.

The office of Norway’s former climate minister Vidar Helgesen had projected hope in finalizing these EU agreements in early 2018 but Minister Elvenstuen is not optimistic with that projection and sees some further delay; ‘I hope we’ll conclude this fall but I don’t foresee us finalizing particulars before summer.’ reported Elvestuen to NTB.

EU commissioner Cañete was upbeat of his meeting with Minister Elvenstuen: ‘I feel that we share interests and common goals . The complications we see are of technical disagreements. We know of the work ahead in solving these technical issues but we fully agree upon overall policy priorities. Although we always have positive meetings with Norway, I hope that all of our future meetings are this productive. There are no problems we can’t solve.’ – stated Arias.

The ‘technical issues’ pertain to pending EU climate rulings. Norway seeks specific adaptations within the EU’s proposed climate plan per existing EEA/EU agreements.

EU Delays
Addressing these technical language formalities are delayed due to EU internal negotiations. The last language compromises were addressed in December, 2018.

3 Concerns
When the EU climate talks do resume to conclusion, Norway will focus upon 3 issues of concern:

* Agreement Status. Norway had first proposed a bilateral agreement with the EU but this said agreement was squashed in Brussels. Norway then responded by proposing a compromise of incorporation with the EEA Protocol 31; a voluntary cooperation of wrapping non-specific issues into EEA agreement. The EU Commission has thus far expressed willingness to discuss this Norwegian compromise proposal.

* Control Oversight. As thus proposed, a separate monitoring and oversight control system is required to ensure Norwegian EU ruling participation.One proposed solution is a monitoring of EEA rules through ESA authority.

* Energy Impact. The EU is instituting a system of national reporting of regulatory energy and climate conforming performance. Norway has positioned to prefer in keeping these energy/climate performance regulations off the table.

A cornerstone position of Norwegian policy has been in holding the EU to task at applying existing EEA Agreements as a framework as it ventures into new regulatory arenas.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today