* No change in German economy ministry position -spokeswoman
* EU member states to vote on set-aside plan next year
BERLIN Dec 10 Germany's economy ministry
remains opposed to a European Commission plan to remove carbon
permits from the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS), a ministry
spokeswoman said on Monday, after reports suggested a compromise
was close to being reached.
Germany's environment and economy ministries have clashed
over the issue of temporarily withdrawing or setting aside
carbon permits from the ETS to help boost low prices in a
process known as backloading.
The environment ministry supports the idea, but the economy
ministry has said the move is unnecessary because the ETS has
helped lower Europe's carbon emissions.
Germany has refused to take a formal position on the issue
until the clash between the two ministries is resolved.
However, a media report on Friday suggested that the
ministries could be near to an agreement, which sent carbon
prices up by more than 5 percent.
A spokeswoman for the economy ministry said that there was
no change in position on the proposal.
"Economy Minister Rosler has made it clear that, for him, a
cut in emissions rights is out of the question," she said.
Last month, the European Commission decided it would not ask
EU member state officials to vote on the backloading proposal at
a Dec. 13 meeting.
The move to delay the vote until next year is widely viewed
as stemming from concerns that Germany, the EU's top economy and
a key vote in the ballot, might abstain due to the ministerial
Prices for carbon permits under the ETS have fallen to
record lows under 6 euros as demand for permits has been crushed
by Europe's economic slowdown and permit auctions keep injecting
supply into the market.
To help boost prices, the European Commission has proposed
removing a portion of permits from the market for several years.
Some 900 million carbon permits would be removed between
2013 and 2015 and then reintroduced to the market in 2019 and
The plan will be voted on by EU member states next year, and
faces opposition from Poland which does not want higher carbon
prices as these hurt its coal industry. Italy has called for the
ETS to be replaced by a carbon tax.
Traders are eager for the Commission plan to be signed off
on by member states, so prices can regain some ground.
Prices for the benchmark EU carbon permit contract
were down 1.77 percent at 6.66 euros a tonne on Monday.
(Reporting by Markus Wacket in Berlin; Writing by Nina
Chestney; editing by Jason Neely)