This meeting of the environment and energy ministers will kick off the programme of informal ministerial meetings of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on Monday.
For three days, from 10 to 12 July, Valladolid will host the ministers, who will discuss issues such as the impact of drought on soil and water quality and the role of forests and biodiversity in adapting to future climate scenarios, with a view to COP28.
The working sessions will focus on the priorities of the Spanish Presidency within the framework of the objectives of the European green agenda, including the preservation of the natural environment as a support for the production capacity of the primary sector over the coming decades.
On the first day, Monday 10 July, the heads of environment will hold three working sessions in which they will deal with the integrated management of soil, water, forests and biodiversity; measures to reduce marine litter and the deployment of renewable energies.
At the end of the morning sessions, the Third Vice-President of the Spanish Government and Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera (pictured), will appear together with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius.
The meeting is expected to hold an in-depth debate on the joint management of the soil- water-biodiversity system, improving water management – with progress in wastewater treatment – reducing pollution and promoting circularity.
Mixed session on COP28
On Tuesday 11 July, the EU environment and energy ministers will share a joint programme with joint working sessions, a family photo and a joint lunch. This joint session will focus on the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), to be held in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December 2023, as the last chance to limit global warming to 1.5ºC.
At the start of the day, Vice-President Teresa Ribera will give an account of the day’s agenda to the media, accompanied by the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Green Pact, Frans Timmermans.
The following day, Wednesday 12 July, ministers will meet to discuss the challenges of achieving an integrated and digitised internal energy market, including interconnections, demand management and storage.
The meeting will discuss the development of electricity interconnections, the approval of the Sixth List of Projects of Common Interest in the field of energy and the necessary actions to prepare the EU for the winter 2023-2024.
The informal meeting will also discuss the energy legislative proposals of the Fit for 55 package related to the promotion of energy from renewable sources, energy efficiency and the establishment of a legislative framework for the development of a competitive market for hydrogen and renewable gases.
Open strategic autonomy
To accelerate the green and digital transitions, the EU must significantly increase and diversify its supply of critical and strategic raw materials, strengthening circularity, research and innovation.
In this sense, the European Critical Raw Materials Act and the Zero Net Emissions Industry Act will be discussed in Valladolid as instruments to guarantee an indigenous, sustainable and efficient supply of these raw materials by combining European industrial sovereignty with open trade.
The creation of the European Hydrogen Bank, which the Spanish Presidency intends to promote in order to lead the production of renewable hydrogen on a European and global scale, will also be discussed.
Teresa Ribera’s appearance alongside the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, will crown this meeting on Wednesday, for which the Spanish Presidency has chosen Valladolid as the venue due to its commitment to the fight against climate change and energy transition. Valladolid is one of the 100 cities participating in the Horizon Europe programme, which promotes urban transformation linked to decarbonisation in strategic sectors.
The Climate Agreement approved by Valladolid in April 2023 marks its path towards climate neutrality with actions that seek, among other objectives, a 30% reduction in motorised transport, a 20% modal shift to public and non-motorised transport, an annual building renovation rate of 2% and a 40% construction of new buildings with the highest energy efficiency standards.
Image: Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain, via Wikipedia.