By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union diplomats have approved a proposal to begin reforms of the bloc's carbon market in 2019, Latvia, the holder of the EU Presidency, said on Wednesday.
The proposal to start operating a so-called Market Stability Reserve (MSR) under the Emissions Trading System (ETS) from Jan. 1, 2019, was adopted at a closed-door meeting of diplomats representing the 28 nations of the EU.
"Member states adopt Market Stability Reserve file to improve operation of carbon market! MSR will be operational from 2019," the Latvian Presidency tweeted.
A qualified majority of EU member states approved a final deal on the MSR, Alexis Dutertre, France's deputy permanent representative to the EU in Brussels, tweeted.
Six countries - Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary and Greece - voted against, two EU diplomats told Reuters.
The MSR is aimed at removing some of the glut of carbon permits which have depressed prices in the ETS.
EU environment ministers will now rubber stamp the deal at a meeting in Luxembourg in June and then a plenary session of the European Parliament will consider it in July.
EU benchmark carbon prices were down by 0.02 euros at 7.61 euros a tonne at 1014 GMT (0614 EDT).
(Writing by Nina Chestney in London; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)