According to Reuters on Monday Poland’s Council delegation is threatening legal action if a new environmental law on national climate targets is adopted using majority voting.
While Warsaw has complained before in this way — a 2016 case is pending before ECJ — a quick look at the longer record of EU climate law-making provides a better picture on what to expect.
Between 2002 and 2015, altogether eighteen climate laws were agreed between the EU institutions. All used the ordinary legislative procedure, also known as ‘co-decision’, which includes Council majority-voting. Sixteen of the laws were adopted since Poland joined the EU on 1 May 2004. Only one, the most recent, has been challenged, by just one delegation, and never have any been overturned.
The 2009 law on national greenhouse gas pollution caps, which performs the same function as the present proposal, was not challenged by any member state and is not questioned by Poland today even though it continues to apply until end 2020.
All of this points to the Kaczyński government, elected 1.5 years ago, as the source of the obstructionism. Any grievance is political, not legal. Poland’s coal industry is already contracting as uneconomic mines close.
By blaming Brussels, Kaczyński seeks to shift attention from necessary changes in Poland that in reality are already well underway.
EU climate protection laws adopted by co-decision and majority voting
ETS (GHG cap & trade) – 8 laws
Non-ETS – 1 law
Vehicle standards (cars & vans) – 4 laws
F-gases – 2 laws
Monitoring & reporting – 3 laws
The above lists do not include environmental laws in areas other than climate protection, those rules adopted by the EC using delegated powers or international climate agreements that in general all tend to use the same Council voting rules and thresholds. ❧