Siim Kiisler, Minister of the Environment, participated in the meeting of the Environment Council of the European Union, which was held in Luxembourg and led by Malta for the last time. The minister gave an overview of the priorities of the Estonian Presidency.
The Council discussed the latest developments in the field of international climate change. The ministers also assured the firm commitment of the European Union and its member states to the Paris Agreement and the process of its full implementation.
“During the presidency, our main focus is the transition to a low-carbon climate-friendly circular economy. The achievement of this goal will be assisted by the implementation of the climate agreement via different legislations as well as by eco-innovation. In the near future, we will be able to further develop these ideas as much as possible. We are ready for this task!” said Siim Kiisler, Minister of the Environment.
The European Union has set a goal to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent compared to the emission level of 1990. Heads of state and prime ministers agreed on this at the European Council in 2014. Different legislations regulating greenhouse gas emissions in large industry as well as in the transport sector, for example, will help to achieve this goal.
Eco-innovation entails novel solutions that replace existing activities in a way that the new solution is economically more cost- and resource-efficient and has a smaller impact on environment or health. In many matters of the environment, instead of restriction, we could focus on the specific and proven innovative solutions to challenges as well as on ways to advance their wider use with the help of EU policies.
Additionally, bilateral meetings were held where Siim Kiisler, Minister of the Environment, had a chance to exchange ideas with the ministers of the environment of Austria and Bulgaria, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General of the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission.
The first council of ministers of the environment during the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU will take place on 13 October, the unofficial council on the 13–14 July.