11 EU countries snub Romanian Presidency’s gas declaration

(EurActiv, 5 Apr 2019) The European Commission, backed by 11 EU member states, refused to sign a declaration on “sustainable and smart gas infrastructure” tabled by the Romanian Presidency earlier this week because the text wasn’t ambitious enough on climate change, EURACTIV.com has learned.

The declaration, which is available online, was inked by 17 EU member states plus Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein, at the conclusion of a two-day informal meeting of EU energy ministers in Bucharest on Monday and Tuesday (1-2 April).

But the Commission and 11 EU countries refused to sign it because the text did not make reference to a proposed EU target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, two diplomatic sources told EURACTIV.

The 11 countries are: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland.

“We tabled amendments to reinforce the language related to the Commission’s long-term strategy” for climate change said one diplomat. “But because these amendments were not kept, we were a bit lukewarm,” the official explained.

Another diplomat from a country which did not sign the declaration was more straightforward. “For us, it lacks ambition,” the diplomat said, adding the declaration would have “undermined” the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal.

While the declaration does mention “climate neutrality” among the EU’s objectives, it does not make an explicit reference to 2050 as a deadline for achieving it.

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EurActiv, 5 Apr 2019: 11 EU countries snub Romanian Presidency’s gas declaration