During the “check-up” Ministers discussed how best to provide for competitiveness mainstreaming, the aim being to ensure that the impact of both new and existing measures on the real economy is systematically taken into account. As a concrete example of “mainstreaming”, Ministers held an informal exchange of views on the reform of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and its possible impact on competitiveness. “The ETS reform is a prime example of an initiative where a good balance needs to be struck between, on the one hand, the need to prevent climate change and, on the other, to maintain the competitiveness of EU industry. We need to create further incentives to reward the best performers and to encourage investment in the greenest and most innovative solutions”, Etienne Schneider stated after the meeting.
Over lunch Ministers also addressed the recent developments in the automotive sector regarding controls of air pollutant car emissions. The Council took note of the action announced by the European Commission to strengthen controls of car emissions and the explanations provided by the German government as to steps taken to look into the recent events of Volkswagen.
“We need to reassure the markets and show that we are taking the necessary steps to re-establish confidence. I am optimistic after hearing the explanations of the Commission and of colleagues around the table, in particular the German colleague. I felt a strong will among colleagues to speak and act with one voice.”, said Etienne Schneider after the meeting.