EU summit backfire sets up for bumpy climate ride

Ahead of the European Union's regular autumn summit, diplomats had sketched out a beguilingly simple agenda: the EU's heads of state and government would sit down to dinner in Brussels, discuss a set of principles on how to fight climate change, and agree to finish the job in December in a ride as smooth as a presidential limousine, reported dpa.

But the explosive mixture of international financial turbulence, offended European sensibilities and Machiavellian national politics caused the diplomatic machine to backfire dramatically.

And that backfire leaves the French government, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, facing a rough ride if it is to forge a deal on flagship EU laws on fighting climate change in December.

"It was understandable what the presidency tried to do, but maybe it was always unlikely that it would work," Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform in London, said.

"The presidency tried to pre-judge several elements of the debate, but that clearly was not on," Delia Villagrasa, climate-change expert at environmental group WWF, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

In March 2007, EU states agreed to cut the bloc's carbon-dioxide emissions (CO2, the gas most tied to global warming) to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. In January, the European Commission, the EU executive, proposed laws on how each member should contribute.

Ahead of the Brussels summit the French presidency, which holds the EU's steering-wheel until the end of the year, proposed a draft summit declaration committing member states to a December deal on the laws and a set of principles on how they should be implemented.

EU officials say a quick deal is vital if the EU is to maintain its influence at international climate talks in Copenhagen in December 2009.

But France's move provoked outrage in the EU, with Finnish premier Matti Vanhanen accusing the presidency of preempting the debate.

As the summit opened, France was forced into reverse, dropping the idea of getting EU support for its guidelines on climate change.

And within hours the situation approached crisis. Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who are currently fighting a no-holds-barred battle for power at home, both threatened to veto the declaration if the December deadline stayed.

Simultaneously, eight Central and Eastern European states led by the Poles issued a statement accusing the commission and presidency of failing to take their economies - the EU's poorest - into account.

And then Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi joined the row, saying that the whole idea of an EU climate deal was wrong unless the rest of the world joined in, especially at a time of economic crisis.

France now faces the task of winning over the rebels at a time when it has already antagonized them with its perceived attempt to bulldoze through the debate - and in the midst of financial crisis.

"Maybe we haven't done enough so far to look at the specifics of individual states," French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted late on Wednesday night.

"Europe is facing a recession, perhaps a prolonged one. Against that backdrop, EU governments are even more determined to ensure that their red lines are not crossed," Tilford told dpa.

Observers do hold out some grounds for hope. They point out that Poland is set to host global talks on a new climate-change deal in December, and is already under domestic pressure to justify a stance which commentators see as jeopardizing its credibility as host.

Another influential Central European state, the Czech Republic, is set to take over the EU's presidency in January, with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek saying that his government would be happy if a deal were reached before he climbs into the EU's heated driving seat.

And many commentators say that Italy, an EU founder, is unlikely to veto a deal as long as it wins concessions for its industry.

But that still leaves at least half a dozen unhappy countries to placate, with each one capable of torpedoing a potential deal.

After its spectacular backfire in Brussels, the French government will have to do some serious road-works if it is to get the EU's climate-change plans back on track - and on the road to Copenhagen.

Araghchi arrives in Vienna to attend 4th round of JCPOA talks
Araghchi arrives in Vienna to attend 4th round of JCPOA talks
Iraq commits to return Iran's debts
Iraq commits to return Iran's debts
Iran expects sanctions to be lifted soon - President Rouhani
Iran expects sanctions to be lifted soon - President Rouhani
Loading Bars
Latest
Uzbekistan reveals financial performance of Uzbek mobile operators
Iran's sees increase in petrochemical exports
Indian Embassy in Baku introduced a new Sanskrit learning App, ‘Little Guru’ (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan discloses number of views of President Aliyev’s interview on Twitter (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 7
Azerbaijan issues data on 1Q2021 export of fruits, vegetables
Azerbaijan confirms 722 more COVID-19 cases, 1,854 recoveries
Iran-Syria trade increases - Chamber of Commerce
Heydar Aliyev Foundation to organize legendary Khary Bulbul music festival in Shusha
Azerbaijan State Security Service talks arrest of illegal armed groups' members
VISA, Central Bank of Azerbaijan sign agreement on development of non-cash payments in Azerbaijan
Pakistan PM Khan in Saudi Arabia to discuss relations
Georgian Formula Construction exports building materials to Lithuania
Firefighters tackle blaze at 19-storey London tower block
Iran increases amount of jobs in free economic zones
Azerbaijan creates best conditions in National Gymnastics Arena - Uzbek gymnast
Greece, Estonia have biggest decrease in CO2 emissions from energy use
Iran says no need for direct or indirect talks with US
Georgia sees increase in international visitors
AzerGold discloses results of tender for software installation
Highest rate of inactive loans recorded in Georgian Cartu Bank
Russia documents 8,386 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours
U.S. administers nearly 252 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Georgia needs investments for faster economic recovery - PM
Azerbaijan has lower COVID-19 death rate compared to global indicators - professor
Kazakhstan sees decrease in petroleum oil exports to Spain
Baku hosts opening ceremony of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup (PHOTO)
Former serviceman accused of treason and espionage in Armenia
Azerbaijan plans to withdraw its peacekeepers from Afghanistan – Defense ministry
India grants permission for 5G trials to telecom service providers
Armenian side does not fulfill obligations upon int’l humanitarian law - MFA
Japan pledges $50.3 million to help India combat COVID-19
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan developing analogy of Schengen visa for Silk Road countries
Azerbaijan forming perspective industrial complex
Azerbaijan - important int’l transport hub - chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC (PHOTO)
ADB to no longer finance coal mining, oil, and natural gas field exploration
Successful policy on development of sports in Azerbaijan bearing fruit - Deputy Sports Minister
All gymnasts provided with necessary time to train for Rhythmic Gymnastics FIG World Cup in Baku - Greek gymnast
Germany says production capacity, not patents, key to upping vaccine output
Saudi to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all workers
Georgia shares data on number of citizen registered for temporary employment in Germany and Israel
Uzbekneftegaz increases natural gas output at field of Gazli oil and gas production dep’t
Uzbekistan to increase copper sulfate exports to Poland
Several investment projects to be implemented in Kazakhstan's Zhambyl in 2021
Iran continues to strengthen ties with China, Russia
Winners of ‘Sustainable Development in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering’ conference awarded (PHOTO)
Very exciting to perform in Rhythmic Gymnastics FIG World Cup in Baku - Polish gymnast
Global Affairs Canada welcomes release of Armenian detainees by Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's SME Dev't Agency holds training for female entrepreneurs (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani PulPal payment system receives purchase offer
Georgia begins renovating buildings and infrastructure in Gardabani
Azerbaijan eyes to launch WeChat payment solution
Azerbaijan's Central Bank unveils results of tender launched to support database platform
SOCAR’s Petkim reveals profit in Q1 2021
S.Korea to set up training center for advanced technologies of fruit, vegetable production in Uzbekistan
Oil prices set for weekly gain despite India virus surge
Azerbaijan boosts steel imports from Turkey
No 'Indian' strain of COVID-19 detected in Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan-China Pipeline LLP opens tender on repairs of pipelines
Uzbekistan, Ireland consider establishing co-op in tourism sector
Egyptian gymnast talks AGF's organization of World Cup in Baku
Nuvei acquires Israeli fintech co Simplex for $250m
SOCAR’s Petkim increases production capacity to 92%
Kazakhstan decreases imports of Belgium-made goods
Thailand expects up to 20 mln doses of Pfizer vaccine from July
Kazakhstan's inflation rate for April 2021 revealed
Shusha declared cultural capital of Azerbaijan - presidential order
Number of ships received at Turkish Gemlik port in 1Q2021 revealed
Putin instructs government to support international Arctic expedition
Kazakhstan’s Nostrum identifies measures to add to PDP reserves
Azerbaijan’s renewable energy path: ongoing and future projects
Georgia reports 1,547 new cases of coronavirus for May 7
Uzbekistan eyes attracting Singaporean companies for co-op in electrical industry
Turkey ratifies agreement on international combined transport of goods with Georgia
Kazakhstan boosts trade with Spain
Latest prices for Azerbaijani oil announced
Wide opportunities opening for TRACECA to implement major projects (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan establishes uninterrupted water supply to liberated Hadrut village
Construction of new main water pipeline to Shusha begins in Azerbaijan
Gold, silver prices increase in Azerbaijan
Size of hydrogen aircraft market by 2040 disclosed
Czech companies interested in implementing green energy projects in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijani Ro-Pax type ferry on its first voyage, en route to Kuryk port (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan’s freight transportation operator opens tender to test wheelsets
Countries Need To Assist India In Its Battle Against Second Wave Of Covid: Deloitte CEO
Cement adhesive and dry mortar mixes plant in Georgia expands with state support
WTO Patent Waiver Will Enable Timely Access Of Covid Vaccines: India
Russia promises to show its best at Expo 2020 in Dubai
Friendship between India and UAE increasing as their allies continues in pandemic
UK PM Johnson's party win election for parliament seat
First day of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup kicks off in Baku (PHOTO)
India taking steps for economy growth
Multilateral Response Is Critical To Overcome Pandemic In India, Globally: IMF
Indian defence organisations engaged in mitigating people’s sufferings amid Covid surge
India, EU likely to resume FTA talks stalled for 8 years
Bank of Israel bought $5.27b foreign currency in April
EURO 2020 Trophy presented to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for May 7
Azerbaijan, TRACECA discuss regional opportunities of post-Karabakh conflict period
Azerbaijani currency rates for May 7
All news