In Europe, eyes have turned on the 10 accession countries, which are due to join the European Union on 1 May. The EU’s environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom said she was optimistic remaining eight newcomers would submit their CO2 abatement plans before the 1 May deadline after Latvia and Slovenia submitted theirs. “The new member states have a little longer. We have already received two … and we don’t expect it to be problematic. They are really interested in it as well,” she commented.
Meanwhile, present EU members were due to present their plans by 31 March but only five EU countries – Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Germany and Austria – have submitted by the deadline date. Since then, the EU Commission had received two further plans from Luxembourg and The Netherlands. However, Margot Walstrom stopped short from taking immediate action against the laggard countries: “We are looking at what we have received from the member states. Where necessary, we will take action. There are eight states that have released consultation drafts.” The Commission is expected to assess all plans by the end of June.