17940484_sBRUSSELS: The third trialogue on revisions to the F-gas regulations broke up without agreement yesterday evening, leaving the possibility that the new regulations could be delayed for at least a year.

While the talks are shrouded in secrecy, the main sticking points between the Council – representing the member states – and the European Parliament are thought to be the severity of the phase-down schedule and product bans. But there are other areas of disagreement including the MEPs desire to place a levy on HFCs.

“I think it’s safe to say there is a big gap between the EP [European Parliament] position and that being proposed by the Council,” said Alasdair Cameron of the Environmental Investigation Agency.

“As I understand it certain member states are trying to water down the Commission proposal, which was weak to begin with. Essentially this could mean business as usual for some sectors and would be huge missed opportunity.”

The Lithuanian presidency is keen to bring this to a conclusion before the end of this year but there is uncertainty as to whether Greece, which takes over the presidency in January, will give it the same priority. With European elections in May, the revision could be delayed for at least a year if no solution can be found before the end of this year.

Coreper, the Permanent Representatives Committee, meet tomorrow to decide whether there is any room for manoeuvre. If there is, a fourth trialogue meeting could be arranged within the next two weeks. Without it, further meetings are likely to be delayed for at least a year

Few are surprised by the lack of an agreement given the wide divergence between the original Council and Environment committee proposals. While air conditioning and refrigeration industry and end users desperately need this to be brought to a conclusion to bring some certainty to the market there is a belief that this should not be achieved at any price.