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EU politicians stress need to tackle illegal trade

Frans Timmermans stressed need to tackle illegal trade

BELGIUM: Leading European politicians have stressed the urgent need to tackle the persistent illegal F-gas trade and strengthen enforcement measures.

In the final Environment Ministers’ council meeting of his country’s presidency on Tuesday, the Czech Republic’s deputy PM Marian Jurečka addressed an “urgent” need to tackle the “increasing” illegal trade and called for improvements in monitoring, reporting and clearer and more coherent rules.

The European Commission’s executive vice-president Frans Timmermans called on all council members to be ambitious on both emissions prevention and on tackling illegal trade. 

“High levels of illegal activities are putting the legitimacy of all strict environmental rules at risk,” he said. “It is indisputable that we must facilitate better enforcement. Rules can only deliver if they are respected. Rules are only respected if they are controlled and sanctioned effectively. 

“That means that some authorities in the member states will have to go beyond business as usual and embrace new enforcement measures. We need to make sure that penalties attain a level in all member states that will be dissuasive. We need to take a moderate price for quota to ensure that only serious traders participate in the quota system. And we need designated customs officers to deal with quota relevant gases.”

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