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On 12 and 13 November 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency, in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB), organised a conference in Luxembourg on the directive concerning the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment which, this year, celebrates its 30th anniversary. The event's participants, public authority and private sector representatives from the 28 Member States, were invited to review the functioning of the directive, exchange good practices and reflect on future challenges. Since it was adopted in 1985, said directive has been amended three times and revised in 2014. Luxembourg's Minister for the Environment, Carole Dieschbourg, spoke of the directive as a "major success in the history of the European Union's environmental policy".
The School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme and the School Milk Scheme are currently separate programmes under which EU aid is allocated to member states. In January 2014, the Commission presented two proposals merging the schemes and amending the new Single Common Market Organisation (single CMO) regulation under the reformed Common agricultural policy (CAP) (5958/14) and the regulation fixing certain aids and refunds (6054/14). Following the examination of the proposal in the Council, on 12 October 2015 the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) granted the Presidency a mandate to enter the first trilogue with the European Parliament on this proposal. The first trilogue took place on 20 October. The main issue at the time was the legal basis of the proposal, on which the mandate prepared for the 2nd trilogue shows some opening. At the end of the 2nd trilogue on 11 November, while recalling its attachment to reach a positive conclusion of this issue, the Presidency deems that it is appropriate to wait before setting the date of the next trilogue. It considers that further informal contacts in the meantime will allow to clarify some elements discussed and will facilitate those negotiations to resume efficiently as soon as possible.
Representatives from more than 70 countries met in Paris from 8 to 10 November 2015 for the traditional Pre-COP event in order to identify a number of approaches in the light of a global climate change agreement to be adopted at the Conference on Climate Change in Paris at the end of November. Carole Dieschbourg, who represented the European Union alongside Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, highlighted the intention of the European Union to adopt a credible and ambitious agreement, not limited to the lowest common denominator. She recalled in that regard that "there is much still to be done before COP21; we need to find common ground on key issues, such as financing developing countries, a long-term objective, and transparency of the agreement".
On 28 September 2015, Luxembourg's Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Camille Gira, was invited by the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) Commission of the Committee of the Regions to take part in a round table dedicated to the "fitness check" of the "Habitat" and "Wild Birds" Directives made by the European Commission as part of the "Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme" (REFIT). This round table was organised while the Committee of the Regions is drawing up an opinion on the quality assessment of these two directives, for which Roby Biwer is the rapporteur. For Camille Gira, a challenge to the directives within the framework of the REFIT programme would send a "devastating political message" and be a "sign of surrender".
The Council adopted the decision on the creation of a market stability reserve (MSR) for the EU greenhouse gas emission trading scheme (EU ETS). This new reserve aims at tackling structural supply-demand imbalances in the EU ETS.
The EU's Environment Ministers adopted conclusions at a Council which took place September 18, 2015 in Brussels on the EU's mandate for the UN Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris at the end of the year. The mandate stresses the importance of an " ambitious and durable legally binding agreement in Paris" applicable " to all Parties ". The text calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 and to achieve zero emissions by 2100. The Council reached an agreement on a " strong, ambitious and responsible " European mandate that will allow the European Union (EU) to " show leadership " and to " facilitate a global agreement that is acceptable to all ", said Carole Dieschbourg, the Luxembourg Minister who chaired the Council.
Carole Dieschbourg, president of the Council of Ministers for the Environment, is due to be received by Pope Francis on 16 September 2015. The Minister will lead an official delegation of around twenty environment ministers. As part of her role as the head of this delegation, she will deliver a common message to the head of the Catholic Church. The meeting with Pope Francis takes place within the context of preparations for the 21st United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21), which will be organised in Paris in December.
Carole Dieschbourg, current President of the Council of Ministers for the Environment, was received by Pope Francis at the Vatican on September 16, 2015. The Minister headed an official delegation of around twenty EU Ministers of the Environment and in that capacity conveyed a common message for the head of the Catholic Church. During the audience, the delegates discussed Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment ("Laudato Si’"), the challenges of the Climate Conference and the Special Summit on Sustainable Development which will be held in New York at the end of September.
On 16 September 2015, the Luxembourg Minister responsible for representing the Luxembourg Presidency at the European Parliament, Nicolas Schmit, spoke before the Plenary Session of the Parliament. He pronounced a Council declaration on the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held in New York between 25 and 27 September, and on development-related aspects of the Climate Conference in Paris (COP21).