Posts Tagged ‘EU’

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Serbia, Christmas and the Spanish Presidency

2009/12/22
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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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15 years since the magical yes vote

2009/11/13

Today, it’s exactly fifteen years since Swedes voted in favour of Sweden joining the European Union. Those of us who campaigned for a yes vote finally succeeded in convincing a majority of the population to put the ’yes’ ballot in the box. It’s hard to forget the joy of victory in the evening of 13 November 1994, when the final results appeared on the TV screen.

The referendum followed on a long and quite aggressive campaign, paved by exaggerated rumours from the no side, claiming how Sweden would be hit by EU membership. Hormon-treated beef was to invade supermarkets, the right to walk freely in our forests would be banned, Germans were to buy up each and every summer house in the country and democracy would come to an end. Did this actually happen?

Of course not. It’s true, however, that EU membership has brought substantial and positive changes to the Swedish society. Today, we share a Common Foreign and Security Policy with 26 other Member States, we are part of a single market with nearly half a billion consumers. We have tough, common regulations on environment and a common policy on asylum and migration will soon be in place. After fifteen years of membership, the European Union has become an integral part of Swedish democracy.

The government is committed to standing up for Europe back home, by showing the added value of EU membership, tell citizens what the government does in Brussels and engage in a dialogue on EU related issues.

The result? Well, since a number of years, a majority of Swedes support membership in the EU and consider the European Union as a good thing. This support is constantly growing.

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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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20 years since the fall of the Berlin wall

2009/11/09
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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.

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Baltic Sea Strategy brought to reality

2009/10/27

Yesterday at the General Affairs Council, we adopted conclusions bringing the Baltic Sea Strategy to reality. Thereby, the Swedish Presidency has achieved one of its top priorities.

Our work is not finished by this. The next task is to make the strategy work in practice in order to meet the challenges the region is facing. The political will of the Baltic Sea countries is crucial.

Thanks to the Baltic Sea Strategy I believe that we in ten years time will have a cleaner sea, more companies that are better integrated and more competitive, a better maritime surveillance system and a more effective cooperation between rescue services in the region.

This is a success for the Baltic Sea Region, for the EU and for the Swedish Presidency.