Minister: Agriculture target of European climate package not achievable in Estonia

  • 2022-01-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – According to Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas, one of the most important areas in the negotiations on the European climate package for Estonia is everything related to agriculture, as the targets set for the sector are not even theoretically achievable for Estonia.

At a public sitting on Monday, the state budget control select committee of the Riigikogu discussed the impact of the European climate package "Fit for 55" on the state budget and the economy together with Aas and the minister of the environment, Erki Savisaar. The package aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

In addition to the agricultural sector, Aas sees the transport and maritime sectors as the main areas of concern for Estonia. As regards the transport sector, the previous target was already ambitious, and according to the Commission's proposal it will now be raised even further, the minister said. 

Changes in maritime affairs should, according to Aas, be handled through the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

"As the maritime sector is global, these changes would be everywhere. The reason is that if we make changes here in Europe and in the Baltic Sea region, we could actually just damage the competitiveness of our businesses and our ports," the minister said.

Aas said that if rules were to be established only for ships visiting European ports, ships would go to neighboring Russian ports instead of the Estonian port of Sillamae, for example, and there would be no real benefit to the environment.

Savisaar meanwhile pointed out that all the goals set in the climate package are, in fact, only a plan, and they are still being discussed at both European and national level.

"We do not yet have any official positions approved by the Riigikogu. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we also arrive at formal positions with which we can sit down at the table in Europe and negotiate," the minister of the environment said.

Aas noted that the negotiations are likely to be long, as several countries consider that one step or another is too ambitious for them.