by Frédéric Simon, March 21, 2019 in Euractiv
Confidential documents prepared in advance of a two-day EU summit in Brussels have exposed an East-West divide in Europe on climate change, with Germany siding with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in their refusal to commit to climate neutrality by 2050.
The leaked documents, seen by EURACTIV, show the amendments proposed by each country in preparation for the final statement of the leaders summit that opens in Brussels on Thursday (21 March).
And when it comes to climate action, the papers reveal a growing rift between two distinct groups of countries.
On the one hand, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and Denmark have all backed a European Commission plan to decarbonise the EU by 2050, linking it specifically to the Paris Agreement objective of keeping global warming below 1.5°C.
A French proposal, for instance, underlines that Europe should strive for climate neutrality “by 2050, in line with the 1.5 degree objective of the Paris Agreement”.
It then calls on EU member states “to prepare a discussion in the European Council in June to define the announcements of the EU at the September Climate Summit in New York”. Both amendments were rejected in the final draft.
On the other hand, Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have refused to specifically link EU climate action with the 1.5°C objective. They also oppose any time-bound commitment to the EU’s climate neutrality objective, deleting any reference to 2050 for reaching that goal.