28th Feb 2024


UN climate talks and passengers' right in focus This WEEK

  • The two-week COP28 will kick off on Thursday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), ending on 12 December (Photo: COP28 UAE)
Listen to article

In the wake of more frequent extreme climate events and record-breaking temperatures, the world's nations are preparing for the upcoming UN high-level climate talks to assess progress towards the Paris Agreement's 1.5 °C target in 2030.

The two-week COP28 will kick off on Thursday (28 November) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), ending on 12 December.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But hosting this year's summit in one of the world's major petrostates, with an oil company CEO at the helm, which has sparked controversy and fears over potential conflicts of interest.

Launching the loss and damage fund to compensate poorer countries for destructive climate change effects, climate finance arrangements, efforts for adaptation, a fossil fuel phase-out, and energy targets are expected to be high on the COP agenda.

The EU recently said that it was ready to make a "substantial" contribution to the new fund, but there are no figures publicly available of the planned contribution.

For their part, MEPs have called on newly-appointed EU climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra to support the phase-out of all fossil fuels — going further than EU countries only backing the phase-out of "unabated" fossil fuels.

"Phasing down demand for, and supply of, all fossil fuels is inevitable and essential," said COP28 UAE presidency.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will be in Dubai on Friday and Saturday (1 and 2 December). Earlier this week, on Monday (27 November), she is set to meet the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol.

Also on Monday, EU Council president Charles Michel will travel to Budapest to meet with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, ahead of December talks.

Barcelona meeting, Nato

Foreign affairs ministers of 43 Euro-Mediterranean countries will gather in Barcelona on Monday (27 November) to discuss the situation in the Middle East — after a four-day humanitarian pause between the Israeli army and Hamas was agreed.

The event will be chaired by EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and the minister of foreign affairs of Jordan, Ayman Safadi. EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarčič is also expected to attend.

On Tuesday (28 November), Nato foreign affairs ministers will be attending a meeting in Brussels, together with Sweden's top diplomats. The EU's Borrell will join a later session that day.

Nato ministers are set to discuss Sweden's Nato membership bid. This comes after Turkey said that their ratification will not be ready in time for the meeting this week, and with Hungary's ratification still pending.

The following day, Sweden will also join the Nato-Ukraine Council to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine and how to maintain military support for Kyiv.

Meanwhile, EU ministers for trade will prepare for the signature of the modernised commercial agreement with Chile and discuss the state of play of commercial relations with the US on Monday.

EU mobility package

On Wednesday (29 November), the commission is expected to unveil a proposal to improve passengers' rights.

An anti-smuggling package of new measures and an action plan to facilitate the roll-out of grids and energy networks will also be presented the same day.

In the European Parliament, MEPs will discuss legislative and non-legislative reports at the committee level.

On Monday, MEPs from the trade committee will have a debate about the latest report from the commission on the screening of foreign direct investments into the EU.

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, for his part, will talk with MEPs in the trade committee on Tuesday.

And the final round of inter-institutional negotiations on new rules for industrial emissions will also take place on Tuesday.

MEPs from the environment committee will vote on their report on European Health Data Space on Tuesday.

The following day, they will have an exchange of views with the commission on pesticides — following the rejection of the commission proposal by the parliament last week.

Also on Wednesday, they will green-light the agreement reached with EU member states on the nature restoration law.

On the same day, the parliament will host a high-level conference on the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Nobel Peace laureates, MEPs, MPs and civil society organisations.

Disability card

Additionally, EU ministers in charge of employment and social policy will gather in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday to discuss several legislative files.

They also aim to reach an agreement on a proposal to facilitate travel across the EU for people with disabilities.

On Thursday, MEPs working on employment matters will vote on a report focusing on social award criteria in public procurement and its impacts on working conditions and the labour market.

Mental health, medicines shortages in the bloc, the EU's pharmaceutical strategy and negotiations on the international pandemic treaty will be discussed by EU health ministers on Thursday.

On the same day, EU affairs ministers are expected to discuss cohesion policy and the EU's so-called strategic autonomy.


'Loss and Damage' reparations still hang in balance at COP28

There is still work to be done — especially when it comes to guaranteeing the Global North's participation in financing Loss and Damage, and ensuring the Global South has representation and oversight on the World Bank's board.


The EU industrial emissions directive vs livestock industry showdown

The European Commission has proposed rules to address widespread air, water and soil pollution from large-scale animal rearing, but livestock lobbies and their political allies are fighting to uphold this destructive — and costly — status quo.


Will EU climate chief Hoekstra come clean before COP28?

As the new EU climate commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, heads to COP28, three senior MEPs question his ties to the fossil-fuel industry — and call for him to disclose all his ties while working for 11 years for McKinsey.

More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK

EU agriculture ministers meet in Brussels amid new farmers' protests. MEPs will hear from Alexei Navalny's widow and give the final green light to the €50bn Ukraine facility, while the CBAM proposal faces a formal challenge at a WTO meeting.

New Red Sea mission and more Russia sanctions This WEEK

EU foreign affairs ministers launch the bloc's new Red Sea naval mission, plus hold talks on new sanctions against Russia — amid Hungarian objections — on Monday. Plus a home for the EU's new anti-money laundering authority will be picked.

Latest News

  1. Macron on Western boots in Ukraine: What he really meant
  2. Amazon lobbyists banned from EU Parliament
  3. MEPs adopt new transparency rules for political ads
  4. EU nature restoration law approved after massive backlash
  5. Memo from Munich — EU needs to reinvent democracy support
  6. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  7. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  8. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us