BRUSSELS, April 20 (Reuters) - European Union countries are divided over whether to delay landmark green investment regulations, with eight heads of government on Tuesday urging Brussels to push back the rules, a day before it is due to publish them.
The European Commission's rules, known as its "sustainable finance taxonomy," include a list of economic activities and the criteria they must meet to be labelled as green investments in the EU from next year.
The aim is to steer private capital into activities that will help the EU meet its climate goals.
But the regime has become a battleground for lobbying from governments, who disagree over what should be labelled as green.
A draft Commission proposal, seen by Reuters last week, lays out rules for various sectors, including transport, industry and buildings. But it delays decisions on whether natural gas-fuelled power plants and nuclear energy can be classed as "green" - two key issues which divide EU countries. read more
The prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and five other countries wrote to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday, opposing the plan to delay gas and nuclear, and urging the Commission to only publish the rules when they can address all energy technologies.
"Even if it costs a delay in adopting the legislation, the objective of having good and ambitious rules for all relevant technologies and sources of energy is worth it," the letter, seen by Reuters, said.
It was also signed by the president of Cyprus and the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Malta, Romania and Slovakia.
Separately, seven EU countries including Germany, Spain and Austria wrote to the Commission on April 16, urging it not to delay the rules.
Market participants who must comply with the rules next year need legal certainty now, said the letter, also signed by Belgium, Denmark, Ireland and Luxembourg.
The Commission had hoped to finish the rules in January, but delayed that plan to April after its original proposal -- which denied gas power plants a green label -- triggered pushback from central and eastern states which see the fuel as necessary for them to ditch more-polluting coal.
That view clashes with the position of the EU's expert advisers on the regime, and some generally wealthier western and Nordic states which say labelling gas, a fossil fuel, as green would undermine EU policies to fight climate change.
The Commission could not immediately be reached for comment.
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