European Commission Chief Spokesperson Eric Mamer told a news briefing that the executive had promised to present its position on what was a “very complex and sensitive topic” before the end of the year.
“We weren’t trying to do it on the sly, if you like, by going for December 31,” he said. “I can assure you our colleagues would much prefer to have been relaxing on holiday, but they decided to continue their work through the Christmas holidays to make sure this came out before the end of the year.”
During months of heated debate on the proposals, some EU countries said gas investments were needed to help them quit more-polluting coal. Others said labelling a fossil fuel as green would undermine the credibility of the rules and of the EU as it seeks to be a global leader in tackling climate change.
The Commission will now collect comments to its draft until January 12 and hopes to adopt a final text by the end of the month. After that, the text can be discussed with EU governments and parliament for up to six months. But it is unlikely to be rejected because that would require 20 of the 27 EU countries, representing 65 per cent of EU citizens, to say “no”.
The aim of the agreement is to send a signal to private investors as to what the EU considers acceptably “green” and stop greenwashing, whereby companies or investors overstate their eco-friendly credentials. The deal will also set limits on what EU governments can use EU recovery funds to invest in.
Read More: EU’s nuclear power support opposed by Germany, called “greenwashing”