Leaders prepare to push for climate action at EU summit

At next week’s European summit in Brussels, leaders will meet to discuss climate neutrality and will push for agreement on trying to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In a joint statement, it says leaders will discuss “the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050”.

However, it’s predicted this could cause major fallouts as, according to European Council president Charles Michel, countries try to convince all EU countries to agree on the matter – something that has proved difficult to achieve in previous meetings.

Charles Michel said he will pay attention to the “interests” and “sensitivities” of all countries, especially those most affected economically. But at the same time, he says he will work to promote the goal of climate neutrality by 2050, as he believes this is in Europe’s best interests.

“Europe could become a green economy leader by investing in research, technology and innovation to guarantee jobs creation and social wellbeing while reducing the climate threat,” he said in an interview at the COP25 UN climate summit in Madrid.

Previous attempts to agree on this goal were blocked by countries that are more economically dependant on coal, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Therefore, to convince these leaders, the EU would have to increase its funding and long-term climate budget.

In a memo from the Polish government, it was noted that, in order to achieve climate neutrality without causing economic damage, they would need “significantly larger” amounts of funding between 2021 and 2027 that what has already been proposed by EU leaders.

The European Commission wants to make these targets even more ambitious and is pushing for a target of net-zero emissions by 2030, rather than 2050. The current targets have already been increased to a 40% cut by 2030 to at least 50%.

The draft paper for the summit talks about taking a “just and socially balanced transition” to make sure Europe can still compete with world superpowers that don’t have the same climate goals. This would involve significantly more green investment between now and 2030.

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