May 30, 2017 / 10:30 AM / 8 months ago

EU presidency says pressing ahead with carbon talks, despite European Parliament

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Parliament has asked for talks on EU carbon market reforms scheduled for Tuesday to be delayed, EU sources said, but the Maltese presidency of the European Union said they would go ahead as planned.

The negotiations to finalise a legal text on reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) post-2020, agreed in outline by the European Parliament in February, have already dragged on for weeks.

A parliamentary source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Parliament had asked for a postponement of Tuesday’s talks in Brussels as Scottish Conservative politician Ian Duncan campaigns for a British parliamentary seat in the June 8 general election.

Duncan led the European Parliament debate on the reforms.

A spokesman for Malta, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the month, said there could be no more delays and the European Parliament would have to find a politician to stand in for Duncan.

“We can’t delay this any longer. For us, the meeting will still go ahead at 7 pm (1700 GMT),” Pablo Micallef said.

It was unclear how long a postponement the European Parliament was seeking.

Analysts have increased price forecasts for European carbon prices to take into account the reforms that are designed to curb oversupply.

While environmental campaigners say they must not be diluted, industries, such as the steel sector, say the proposals raise the risk of job losses and plant closures.

The ETS cap and trade market is meant to be the European Union’s prime tool for implementing cuts in carbon emissions, but since the financial crisis of 2007-8, it has been burdened by excess supply of permits to pollute.

The carbon market was trading at 5.11 euros, 1.16 percent lower by 1054 GMT.

Duncan has said Britain is unlikely to remain in the EU ETS after it leaves the European Union.

Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Adrian Croft

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