January 14, 2015 / 5:53 PM / in 3 years

EU executive push against red tape divides parliament

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU lawmakers have failed to agree a united stance against the European Commission’s plans to scrap some environment policy, marking a victory for the executive’s push for less regulation.

The Commission in December laid out its legislative plans for 2015, with a promise to focus on priorities such as jobs and boosting the economy.

As part of a campaign to cut red tape, it said it planned to withdraw proposals made by the previous EU executive, including on air pollution and reducing waste, spurring a backlash from some member states and political groupings.

However, members of the European Parliament were unable to settle on a cross-party motion opposing the Commission’s proposals before a vote planned for Thursday, politicians said.

Instead, each political group came up with a different resolution, making it unlikely any of them would receive the majority needed to pass.

British liberal lawmaker Catherine Bearder blamed center politicians for failing to stand up for measures to improve air quality and resource efficiency.

“Unfortunately, what could have been a strong, united position from the European Parliament has collapsed due to narrow political interests,” she said.

A spokesman for the center European People’s Party said negotiations were continuing and it had no immediate comment.

A Commission official, who asked not to be named, said the Commission could always review the work plan in the event of strong opposition, but that it was already discussed extensively with politicians and member states before its publication.

Reporting by Barbara Lewis and Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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