Marc Pons, Balearic transport and energy minister (left), with Miguel Arias Cañete (right). | MDB

Brussels supports the Balearic government plans for phasing out diesel and petrol vehicles. The regional transport and energy minister, Marc Pons, met the EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, in Brussels on Tuesday. They discussed the Balearic draft legislation on climate change, an aspect of which is that diesel vehicles will not be allowed to enter the islands from 2025; the same restriction will apply to petrol vehicles from 2035.

Pons said that objectives coincide in that the EU is seeking the "de-carbonisation" of the European economy by 2050. Arias Cañete raised no objection to the diesel vehicle plan, noting that there are already similar initiatives elsewhere, such as in Paris. Pons explained that this type of decision is one that town halls and regional authorities can make.

With regard to electric vehicles for rent - the aim is that the car-hire fleet should be 100% electric by 2035 - Pons outlined the investment that is to be made: 800 million euros for the necessary infrastructure, including the charging points.

Arias Cañete outlined financial aid for improving buildings' energy efficiency; this was in the context of the Balearic government's plan for solar panels on new buildings and industrial units of more than 1,000 square metres.

On the progressive closure of the coal-fired Es Murterar power station in Alcudia, the commissioner didn't wish to say anything specific. He explained that the EU is waiting for a decree on coal power stations that the Madrid government is due to issue. New EU directives on the closure of these power stations are also in the pipeline.

* Miguel Arias Cañete was minister for the environment in the Rajoy government from 2011 to 2014 and was nominated by Spain to be a European commissioner in August 2014.