EU climate deal falls at summit, four countries wield the axe

(EurActiv, 20 Jun 2019) The European Council failed to agree on Thursday (20 June) on a landmark climate strategy for 2050 as the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland baulked at the mention of a specific date, despite last-minute efforts of France and Germany to convince them.

Leaders of the EU-28 did not manage to broker an agreement that would have seen member states slash greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2050, after Estonia and three of the Visegrad Four protested at the inclusion of an explicit date.

The next opportunity to return to the issue will be October, at an end-of-month summit due to be Jean-Claude Juncker’s last as Commission president. The summit is likely to be dominated by Brexit though as the UK is due to leave the bloc at midnight on 31 October.

A final version of Thursday’s conclusions says the EU will “ensure a transition to a climate neutral EU ‘in line with the Paris Agreement’”, replacing the 2050 date that appeared in the latest draft this morning.

It means that the EU will go to a crucial UN summit in September, as well as next week’s G20, without the sought-after deadline, although conclusions for this summit will make it clear in footnotes that all but four of the member states agree on the target.

“For a large majority of Member States, climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050,” it reads.

The meeting results say that the Council still intends to wrap up talks by the end of the year and that there will be a final deal “in early 2020”. The European Commission and national delegates are urged to look more closely into the financial impact of the strategy.

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EurActiv, 20 Jun 2019: EU climate deal falls at summit, four countries wield the axe