Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

EU push for climate funding unity

ActionAid activists display a bannerprior to a European Union summit near the European Council headquarters
The EU is struggling to present a united front on funds to fight global warming

EU leaders are trying to break an impasse over funding to help poor countries combat global warming on the last day of their Brussels summit.

Sweden's prime minister called on EU leaders to set a fixed sum, paving the way for other rich donors like the US and Japan to make similar pledges.

But a coalition of nine poorer European nations has threatened to block a deal unless richer EU countries pay more.

Earlier leaders agreed a deal to secure the ratification of the Lisbon treaty.

The Czechs were granted an opt-out from the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, similar to that of the UK and Poland.

The Czechs are the only one of the 27 EU nations not to have ratified the treaty, which aims to streamline decision-making and bolster the bloc's role on the world stage.

EU leaders also moved no closer to agreement on a prospective president of the European Council, with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's chances of securing the role receding.

Climate wrangle

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown: "I think this is a breakthrough"

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Friday that EU leaders had reached consensus on what to offer other countries at December's UN climate conference in Copenhagen.

"Europe is making three conditional offers, money on the table, saying we will do everything we can to make a climate change deal happen," he said on Friday.

The EU is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and by up to 30% if other countries join in.

But the BBC's Oana Lungescu, in Brussels, says that with just weeks to go before the Copenhagen summit, Europeans are struggling over how much money to offer developing nations to fight the effects of global warming.

The European Commission has recommended EU nations pay up to 15bn euros ($22bn; £13bn) a year from 2013 to developing nations.

A draft text of the summit conclusions, seen by the BBC, says EU leaders agree with the European Commission's estimate that the total cost of climate adaptation in developing countries could reach about 100bn euros ($148bn; £90bn) annually by 2020.

Gavin Hewitt
Do the majority of leaders want someone who can get a hearing at the White House, or do they want someone who will build consensus within the European Union?
Gavin Hewitt, BBC Europe editor

Of that 100bn euros, international public financing is estimated at 22-50bn euros annually by 2020, "subject to a fair burden-sharing at the global level".

Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski told the BBC that eastern European nations should be allowed to contribute according to their means, not to how much they pollute - otherwise they were ready to block a deal.

"It's a coalition of nine countries and there are countries there like Bulgaria and Latvia which are considerably poorer than Brazil and which would be expected to help Brazil in its adjustments to climate change," he said.

The draft conclusions appear to recognise the eastern Europeans' concerns, saying that the EU contributions for developing countries "should be based on a comprehensive global distribution key" and "should take into account the ability to pay of less prosperous [EU] member states, through an internal adjustment mechanism".

But the EU does not spell out how the member states' contributions will be calculated - whether their CO2 emissions or their ability to pay will weigh more heavily in the calculation.


The UK and Scandinavian countries had been calling on the EU to put a figure on its climate help for poorer countries, ahead of the Copenhagen summit in December. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel was reluctant however to commit to a figure.

The EU says it is "more than ever fully determined to play a leading role" in the climate negotiations, which it says need "new momentum".

But the draft conclusions also call for firm commitments from other developed countries. In the US, a bill on cutting CO2 emissions is still going through Congress.

Aid agencies say a deal on climate financing for poorer countries is crucial for the outcome of Copenhagen summit.

Tim Gore, a spokesman for Oxfam International, told the BBC that so far, the EU's figures were "about half of what we say is needed from the EU".

"We need the right EU signal to build the momentum needed ahead of Copenhagen," he added.

'Blair hopes fading'

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said on Thursday that reaching a deal to secure the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty had been a long process.

"You know, this new treaty reminds me of a marathon but a marathon with hurdles and I believe that tonight we have removed the last political hurdle," he told the BBC.

Should the Czech Republic - as now expected - ratify the Lisbon Treaty, it will clear the way for the creation of the post of President of the European Council.

Tony Blair and Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker have been touted as the leading candidates for the job.

But the BBC's Jonny Dymond in Brussels says a lack of support from European socialist leaders has served to undermine Mr Blair's chances.


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