Meeting in Brussels on February 9, COREPER (Member States' Permanent Representatives to the EU) continued to probe conciliation procedures in progress for environmental matters. In the case of the proposal for a Decision establishing a CO2 emission monitoring programme for new vehicles, the talks are going smoothly: the European Commission has offered suggestions for a compromise for outstanding issues, so an deal may be in the offing as regards the possible conclusion of environmental agreement. A vague form of words, which involves no obligation for the Commission to table formal proposals in this area, has apparently gone down well with all the Member States. In contrast, there is no agreement in sight on vehicle dimensions: a source close to the Commission believes that if the Parliament were to agree to drop a certain amendment a final agreement could be forged soon (and perhaps merely by an exchange of letters).A first session of the "informal trialogue" (Parliament/Council/European Commission) had been held on February 2, when the two institutions took the opportunity to signal their desire to rapidly arrive at an agreement and have already made considerable progress on the CO2 monitoring issue. The Parliament and Council remain divided on only two amendments, concerning possible voluntary agreements with the motor industry, and the need to define the dimension of vehicles in the text of the Directive. The issue will be discussed afresh by the Parliamentary delegation on the fringes of the Assembly's next plenary session in Strasbourg from February 14 to 18.The Member States are apparently no nearer to an agreement on a proposal for a Regulation on ozone-depleting substances. The date of the next conciliation committee is still February 29, but this might be postponed until early April so there can be more time for (and more chance of) an agreement. The timetable comprises a meeting of COREPER on February 16 and...

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