EU takes stock after climate deal disappointment

(EurActiv, 28 Jun 2019) EU environment ministers met on Wednesday (26 June) to take stock of how a landmark climate deal fell short of a final agreement last week. Signs now suggest that the European Council will stick to its end-of-year deadline and Poland will finally get on board.

Twenty-four member states swung behind a climate agreement for 2050 last Thursday (20 June) but the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland stopped short of backing a plan that needs unanimous support.

A “vast majority” of countries now agree that the EU economy should slash emissions to a net-zero level by 2050, in order to keep up the bloc’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. But the unwilling four were left unconvinced by the deadline.

At an environment council in Luxembourg on Wednesday, the climate plan was on the agenda and the four hold-outs explained why they were not able to give their blessing last week.

Poland, labelled by EU diplomats as “the ringleader” of the four countries, said at the meeting that it is “ready to work intensively in the coming months” to ensure a deal can be brokered by the end of the year.

In the Council conclusions from last week, member states agreed to finish all their preparatory work in 2019 so that an agreement can be reached in “early 2020”. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters after last week’s summit that he had vetoed the deal to “protect Poland’s businesses and citizens”. Some of the country’s media reported that Morawiecki had saved them from a German-led scheme to sell clean energy tech.

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EurActiv, 28 Jun 2019: EU takes stock after climate deal disappointment