Posts Tagged ‘climate’

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Post-Copenhagen

2009/12/22

It is no secret that we would have wished for a better deal in Copenhagen. The deal the world finally could agree on will not solve the climate issue. There was a lack of political will from some parts and with the current structure of the climate convention, where consenus is needed to come to a decision, the possibilities to delay the discussions are noticeable. Together with several African countries and small island states, the EU pushed for a more ambitious outcome, but those with the lowest ambitions set the agenda.

Among the positive results from Copenhagen is the recognition of the two degree target. The commitment to pay for adaptation and mitigation in the developing countries is also important. The commitment from the industrialized countries amounts to about 30 billion dollars for the period 2010-2012, of which the EU and Japan will contribute with more than 10 billion dollars each, while the US puts in 3,6 billion dollars.

The commitments to emissions reductions, however, remain too weak and no long-term goal is set. Many unclear points remain, for example the fundamental issue how we could come to a new legally binding agreement for those not included in the Kyoto protocol.

It is also disturbing that the deal does not clearly state that we now strive for a global, legally binding agreement during 2010. A lot of work remains to be done if we are to build on this deal and reach an agreement that would put the two degree target within reach.

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We have taken on the challenge

2009/12/16

The end of the Swedish Presidency is approaching, and Prime Minister Reinfeldt is attending the European Parliament’s session today to sum up the past months. The outcome of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen is still uncertain, but nevertheless, I feel proud over our achievements these six months.

We must not forget that Sweden has led the European Union under very particular circumstances. When we took over in July, Europe went through the deepest economic crisis in 70 years. It was also clear that we had to act decisively in the climate field. It may be a challenge to adapt to a climate-smart economy and lifestyle, but I dare to say that this is the most important issue of our time.

The preconditions were somewhat shaky: the newly elected Parliament had barely been formed, the fate of the Lisbon Treaty was uncertain and the Commission was about to leave.

Out of our six priorities, we have nevertheless made important and considerable progress in each area, and the Lisbon Treaty, the Stockholm Programme and the Baltic Sea Strategy have been adopted.

The economic crisis
The ambition of the presidency was that Europe must emerge as a stronger actor after the crisis. New, more effective rules governing the financial markets are about to enter into force, but also new rules about bonuses and bank capital coverage. Thereby, Europe will be better prepared for the future.

But we have also set up explicit principles for an exit strategy, to phase out temporary measures and to return to sound public finances. And we have paved the way for a new strategy for growth and jobs, with a view to to strengthening the EU until 2020.

The climate issue
We do not yet know what to expect from the conference in Copenhagen, but we know that the EU has arrived at the negotiations with a strong mandate. The EU is to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases with 20 percent until 2020, and by 30 percent if other industrialised countries agree to make comparable reductions and the developing countries contribute as much as possible.

The EU has also agreed on the estimate that 100 billion euro per year will be needed until 2020, and 5-7 billion euro per year 2010-2012 in a so called ”fast start” financing. The EU will be contributing with 2,4 out of the 5-7 billions. It is important that the developing countries are given the opportunity for mitigation and adaptation. The EU has also agreed on a long-term goal for emission reductions: 80-95 percent until 2050.

The Lisbon Treaty
The road to the Lisbon Treaty has been long and winding, but I am pleased that it finally could enter into force by the 1 december. It provides us with modern rules for a more open, effective and democratic union. The Treaty also led to the appointment of Herman van Rompuy as the new Permanent President of the European Council, and Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy. Both these new positions are constructed to guarantee better continuity and more coherent EU policies.
Following the entry into force of the Treaty, a new Commission is also expected to be appointed by late January.

The Baltic Sea Strategy
As readers of this blog may be aware, the Baltic Sea Strategy is an issue on which I have been working intensively, and I am glad that we adopted a strategy for the region during the autumn. The idea is that the eight EU Member States in the Baltic Sea region should work more closely together for a cleaner sea and a more economically dynamic region. The Baltic Sea Strategy is a new way of working in the EU, where we try to look at the region from the perspective that many policy areas are connected, and I know that other regions within the EU are following the development with great interest.

The Stockholm Programme
The Stockholm Programme is the new strategic work programme in the area of justice and home affairs. It will direct the EU’s judicial, police and migration cooperation for the coming five years. The ambition is to create a safer and more open Europe that safeguards the rights of the individual, where we strive to guarantee individual integrity and strengthen legal certainty while also stepping up cooperation in the fight against trafficking, smuggling and other forms of organized crime. The Stockholm Programme also carries the ambition to create a common asylum system, and I am pleased that the European Council was able to adopt it last week.

Enlargement/The EU’s global role
We have made progress in the negotiations with both Croatia and Turkey, and applications from Iceland, Albania and Montenegro are now being reviewed by the Commission. We have also decided on visa liberalisation for Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. It is also positive that the work with the Eastern Partnership is going well.

We have of course dealt with many other important issues, and to discuss each and every of them would make an long blog post even heavier to read. Let me just give a couple of examples: The deal recently closed on a European patent (a negotiation that has been going on for decades) and the Telecom package are both of great value for Europe. Personally, I also want to promote our efforts to connect equality and growth and how the insight about the interaction between the two can strengthen our common work in Europe.

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Countdown

2009/12/14

The Swedish Presidency of the EU is rapidly approaching its end. We have worked intensively and made progress in a lot of important questions, but it is still to early to evaluate, sum up and relax. The climate negotiations is entering its final week in Copenhagen, with head of states and governments arriving at the end of the week.

The European Parliament is also meeting, for the last time this year. I am going there tomorrow for debates on transparency, the Middle East, Georgia, Afghanistan, Belarus and others. Wednesday, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt will arrive in the Parliament to sum up these six months.

And in Brussels, the Council for Agriculture and Fisheries as well as for Transport and Telecommunication will be meeting.

To conclude, we have an important week ahead of us, before we can start to think about Christmas celebrations…

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Climate talks

2009/12/09

The climate conference in Copenhagen has started Negotiations will be going on this week and next in different formations in order to make progress in the different issues we strive to come to an agreement on, such as emission reductions and financing. Even though the positions of the important actors differ more than one would hope – we have not only different ambitions, but even different ways of calculating our ambitions – it is pleasing that more than one hundred heads of states and governments, including Barack Obama, has declared their intention to participate.

For my own part, I chaired my last General Affairs Council meeting on monday. We had extensive discussions on enlargement, and it is obvious that the EU can continue to help European integration. The discussions were long and difficult, especially on Turkey and on FYROM, but in the end we reached a conclusion in a positive spirit. The long discussions forced us to cancel the discussions I had planed on crises and disaster management. But we have also prepared for the European Council later this week, where the Stockholm Programme will be adopted and important issues such as the EU 2020 strategy for growth and jobs as well as exit strategies and financial regulation will be addressed in the light of the economic crisis.

We also talked about climate, as the European Council will review the EU position in the ongoing negotiations on its meeting. The EU has a strong, common position in the negotiations, were we are pushing for an agreement that would put the two degree target within reach. Hopefully we can also present a figure for the fast-start financing of climate adoptation the coming three years.

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The upcoming week of the Swedish Presidency

2009/11/23

The meeting of the European Parliament, starting today, dominates our work in the EU this week. Seven Swedish ministers will be in Strasbourg to participate in debates and answer questions on climate, enlargement, the Stockholm Programme, men’s violence against women and much more. For my own part, I will be representing the European Council in the Parliament’s debate.

Today, the ministers for environment also meet in Brussels at an extra Council meeting. The climate conference in Copenhagen is just a few weeks away, and Andreas Carlgren and his colleagues will conduct a final joint review of the positions and strategies.

And at the end of the week, the Education, Youth and Culture Council meet. Among the topics on the agenda are to make a contribution to the EU strategy for growth and jobs and to discuss the European year of Volunteering 2011.

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Will it be possible to reach a deal on the climate in December?

2009/11/11

With the conference in Copenhagen just a month away, a good deal of the efforts of the Swedish Presidency lie on preparing the climate issue. Last week, Prime Minister Reinfeldt represented the Swedish Presidency at the EU-USA and EU-India summit. That the US must be ready to take its responsibility if we are to reach a deal on the climate is a plain fact, but it is also important that the fight against global warming includes developing countries. It is therefore pleasing that the EU-India summit resulted in an agreement on support of the two degree target, even though this is a domestically sensitive issue in India.

Climate negotiations have also been going on in Barcelona, in a last negotiation meeting in front of Copenhagen. Progress was made on technical issues and there were good discussions, leading to a greater level of understanding. But the politically sensitive issues were not solved. If we are to reach a deal in Copenhagen, a greater will to negotiate is needed. The two core issues are the level of the emission reductions and the financing of the necessery measures, and we need to move forward in these areas. The EU has committed itself to reduce its emissions with 30 % if other countries make comparable commitments. Now, the US and other industrialized countries must step up their ambitions to reduce emissions, and the more advanced developing countries must make adequate commitments according to their respectively capabilities and responsibilities.

Regarding financing, the EU has expressed its support for the European Commissions estimate that costs in developing countries could amount to 100 billion euro annually by 2020. This issue was also raised at the meeting of the G20 finance ministers, but regrettably, they were unable to make the needed progress. It is now up to the US and other industrialized countries to also present a credible financing of the needs of the developing countries.

The Swedish Presidency continues with its work, and I am glad that the EU acts as the well-needed leader. The basic success story of the EU is that cooperation works. This is a lesson that now must be learnt by the rest of the world, too.

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Continued negotiations on climate

2009/11/02

Friday’s agreement at the European Council on a broad EU-mandate for the UN climate conference in Copenhagen was pleasing and has given us a strong negotiation position. Most importantly, we managed to reach agreement on climate financing, including

  • Endorsing an estimate that cost of mitigation and adaptation in developing countries could amount to 100 billion euros annually per year by 2020.
  •  Estimate that international public support of this overall amount lie between 22 to 50 billion euros per year by 2020.
  • Noting the estimate that a fast start sum is needed for the first three years, 2010-2012, of 5-7 billion euros per year.

We also agreed on principles for an internal burden sharing as regards EU contribution to this international public support, and on technology transfer, adaptation, mitigation and good governance. And not to forget: we agreed on the objective to reduce emissions by 80-95 % by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

With this new mandate, climate talks proceeds in Barcelona, where environmental minister Andreas Carlgren has arrived together with the chief negotiators from the EU Member States. Tomorrow, an EU delegation including Prime Minister Reinfeldt will also hold talks on climate change with President Obama, before moving on to India for the annual EU-India summit.

The ambition to reach a deal in Copenhagen means a lot of footwork.