Sunday

21st Jan 2018

Italy, Poland threaten to veto EU climate package

Italy and Poland have threatened to veto the European Union's package to tackle climate change, saying their economies cannot bear the added burden that emissions reductions would impose.

"I have announced my intention to exercise my veto," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told reporters at the European Summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday (15 October). "Our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Mr Berlusconi at the summit - France believes he'll come round in the end (Photo: eu2008.fr)

The remarks echoed that of Polish leaders earlier in the day. Warsaw is opposed to language in an agreement between the EU chiefs that commits the bloc to finalising a deal on the climate package in December.

"Poland is ready to veto if there are attempts to force us to accept the climate-change package in the next month," said the country's foreign minister, Radek Sikorksi, at the summit.

Poland's Europe minister, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, repeated the threat, saying: "We certainly don't see the conditions for early agreement if we don't find better burden-sharing inside the package."

The key issue for Poland, alongside Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia, is the use of 2005 as the baseline year for setting new emissions targets, rather than 1990. They argue that they made significant cuts in carbon emissions after 1990.

Critics of this position say that these reductions were only due to the economic decline that followed the fall of Communism.

But the eastern Europeans say this was coincidental and that there were serious investments made at the time in more modern, cleaner technologies, pointing to how emissions did not noticeably increase after their economies improved.

Berlusconi 'will come round'

Speaking to reporters late on Wednesday, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, whose country currently chairs the six-month rotating EU presidency, said he believed his Italian friend "who I've known for a long time" would come round in the end.

"[Mr Berlusconi] made some good points, saying they have a problem with off-shoring jobs already," he said. "And he's quite right. We can't blame him. He's playing his role," Mr Sarkozy explained. "But we have a historic responsibility here."

Referring to the eastern nations, the French leader said: "Some countries said we should drop the timetable. We cannot find in two and a half months that we haven't found an agreement."

"But we are not going to do what we normally do, which is hand off the whole thing to the next presidency. We are not going to do that."

He conceded that "We have to take into account the concerns of our members," however, adding "there is some room for flexibility."

At the same press conference, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was more blunt: "We have to be frank - the situation is difficult. There was a lot of pressure that we should be more prudent, more cautious," while underscoring that there remained "a consensus on objectives."

"Our responsibility goes beyond the present moment. The future of the planet is in our hands."

A source close to the discussions told EUobserver that the two member states were likely to give in eventually. "Italy and Poland were very much in the minority and put in their place," the contact said.

Last throw of the dice

Green Luxembourg MEP Claude Turmes meanwhile told this paper that he thought Poland and Italy were making a last ditch negotiating play.

"They very vigorously defended their corner today as they knew today was the last day they had a chance of delaying the opening negotiations [on the climate package] between the parliament, the council and the commission.

"The French presidency has told [key MEPs] they are eager to open the [tripartite negotiations] in the first week of November, and at that point, the role of individual member states decreases," he said.

German coalition deal aims for 'Macron-lite' EU renewal

Merkel and Schulz clear the first hurdle of coalition talks, but the SPD's full membership backing is still needed. The likely coalition parties express support for Macron's eurozone reform ideas, but remain cautious.

Uber is a transport service, EU court rules

Ruling means that national governments have the right to demand that Uber drivers request the same permits and authorisations required of taxi drivers.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  2. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  3. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  4. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  5. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  6. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  7. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  8. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  10. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  12. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap