Italy helds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union since July 2014. The country will be responsible for the functioning of the Council of the European Union, the upper house of the EU legislature. It rotates among the member states of the EU every six months. During this period, a number of important environmental and energy issues will be at the heart of European politics. Green growth and jobs will be high on the agenda too as Italy tries to get environmental policies working towards European competitiveness

The priorities of the Italian Council Presidency were outlined to the various parliamentary committees by Italian ministers, on 22 and 23 July.  Security of supply remains at the top of EU decision makers’ agenda as the crisis between Ukraine and Russia continues. The Commission will launch security stress test starting with the most exposed part of Europe, namely Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

The outlines of a climate & energy policy for 2030 are expected to be agreed by European leaders in October 2014: the Italian EU Presidency will have a chance to draw a compromise at the informal Energy and Environment Ministers meeting on October 6, and in this way facilitate an agreement at the European Council on October 23 & 24.

The Presidency also intends to make “significant progress” on the  air quality package and the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) legislation. Fuels will be another big issue on the energy agenda in the next six months with the completion of the fitness check of the European refining industry. The Italian Presidency will also try to advance two controversial files: the Fuel Quality Directive and the carbon footprint of biofuels. The Italian EU presidency also plans to pick up the dossier of air quality and to broker agreement amongst a majority of member states on a new directive to control emissions from medium-sized combustion plants.

 Italy will seek to make progress on reforming the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by advancing talks on creating a “market stability reserve”.