The individual circumstances of member states should be considered when working towards EU climate goals, Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou said on Monday.

She was attending the European Union’s Environment Council, which brought together environment ministers to discuss a number of issues intersecting with the EU’s 2040 climate target.

Ministers held a policy debate on the commission’s proposal to revise the waste framework directive, also discussing a proposal on preventing plastic pellet losses to the environment so as to limit microplastics.

According to an announcement, the minister welcomed the discussions, stressing that the process towards reaching the 2040 climate goals must take into account the realities of the member states and be accompanied by the corresponding technical and financial support.

She also said that the process must consider sectors of capital importance for the connectivity and economic stability of some member states, and especially island ones, such as aviation and shipping.

Panayiotou expressed her satisfaction with the proposal to amend the waste framework directive, pointing out that it should be ensured that the goals are realistic, implementable, within the agreed timelines, and that they are accompanied by support measures.

She added that the particular circumstances of each member state should also be taken into account, such as climate conditions in food storage and fluctuations in the production of food waste as a result of seasonal tourism.

The agriculture minister also said Cyprus welcomed the proposal for the regulation of microplastics, emphasising the need to minimise the administrative burden of the competent authorities.

Later, during a working lunch, the ministers exchanged views on water resilience, with Panayiotou highlighting the importance of international, regional and interdisciplinary cooperation to achieve the sustainable management of water resources.

It is necessary to ensure that member states, Mediterranean ones in particular, have the necessary financial capabilities to access the new technologies that allow independence from climatic conditions, she stressed.

On the sidelines of the conference, and in view of preparations for the Cyprus presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2026, the minister held a meeting with delegations from Poland and Denmark, discussing the next steps in preparation for the trio presidency.

She also met with the Hungarian Minister of Environmental Affairs Anikó Raisz, ahead of the upcoming Hungarian presidency of the Council of the EU, in the second half of 2024.