According to Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Estonia should be clear about its position regarding the extension of the EU's new Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS2), which will also apply to fuels for transport and the heating of buildings.
In December, EU negotiators agreed to create a separate Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS2), which will cover fuels used for road transportation and residential heating. The new carbon price will apply to petrol and diesel and also be extended to other fuel sources such as natural gas. Ultimately, ETS2 will lead to higher motor fuel costs, with the price of household heating fuels such as heating oil and coal also set to rise.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) told ERR, that Estonia's positions on the proposals in the "Fit for 55" package (The EU's target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 – ed.) had been approved by the Riigikogu's EU Affairs Committee in January 2022, but that this did not express clear enough opposition to the extension of the ETS to heating and transport.
Reinsalu was critical of the ambiguity surrounding Estonia's position on the "Fit for 55" proposals, pointing out that taking a clearer stance would have been a better approach. "But that's the way it was passed by the coalition at the time," Reinsalu said.
"And when the EU Affairs Committee put forward its general approach in the spring or summer of last year, it happened at the time of the so-called "single -party government" (when Reform was temporarily the only party in government - ed.)," he added.
Reinsalu said, that Estonia's positions on the "Fit for 55" proposals will now be sent to the European Parliament and from there to the Council of Europe for approval.
"For me, whether Estonia should vote in favor of them is a very fundamental question. The previous government, in January, was also clearly skeptical about the extension of the ETS. And secondly, the position on the 2.5 million (tons of CO2 to be captured by 2030 -ed.), which remained in LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry sector) has been, that Estonia does not support it. If we don't support any of these things, then I think it's fairer to say that this doesn't work for us. In the end, decisions will be made through the voting procedures, but it is important for everyone to understand and express their own positions," Reinsalu said.
According to Reinsalu, in the final vote, Estonia should not support a significant number of the "Fit for 55" proposals. "I don't see any reason to extend it (ETS2) to buildings or road transport," Reinsalu said.
"I think this is a lesson for us. If we go with too streamlined an approach, the results we achieve, will also be more streamlined," he added.
Editor: Michael Cole