Energy minister and Climate Action Commissioner Cañete discuss emissions targets

Miguel Arias Canete, EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, participates in a panel in Lima on December 10, 2014, during the UN 20th session of the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol is being held from December 1st to 12th in Lima. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Greece’s industry needs protection from carbon leakage risk due to its proximity with non-EU countries that are not bound by zero-carbon economy commitments, Alternate Environment and Energy Minister Sokratis Famellos told European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete during their meeting on Thursday.

A ministry announcement issued after the meeting in Athens said it had focused on the proposed revision of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) directive. Famellos noted the need to protect Greece’s economy and industry, especially the cement and building materials industry, under the scheme. He said Greece supports the European Commission’s initial proposal on this issue, which ensures protection of Greek industry’s competitiveness and also high levels of environmental protection.

Famellos also asked that Greece be included in favourable rules foreseen for countries whose GDP is less than 60 pct of the European average, given that the statistical figures change every year. He proposed that 2014 or 2015 be used as an alternative base years, in addition to 2013, noting that such a measures would provide much-needed additional resources to modernise the energy sector and improve energy efficiency.

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the EU Monitoring, Reporting, Verification (MRV) Regulation for the shipping sector. Famellos suggested to the Commissioner that, following a recent decision of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to develop and adopt a similar global system, the European Commission should align itself with the system adopted by the IMO. He pointed out that shipping regulations must concern the entire global fleet in order to be effective, otherwise they lead to ship owners switching national flags without any real benefit for the environment.

Ministry and commission delegations also discussed financing for a Greek Climate Change Observatory using funds from IPLIFE.