Monday

16th Sep 2019

Ministers fail to agree on climate financing

  • Swedish finance minister Anders Borg (centre) struggled to get EU states to agree on Tuesday (Photo: Swedish Presidency)

Discord reigned supreme at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday (20 October), with the most notable failure in the area of climate financing.

The Swedish EU presidency had hoped to reach an agreement on individual member state contributions towards a EU pot of funding, destined to help developing countries tackle climate change.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"It is a disappointing outcome, that we weren't able to reach an agreement," said Swedish finance minister Anders Borg after the meeting.

Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken described the meeting as a "fiasco", adding that the likelihood of failing to secure a global deal in Copenhagen this December to replace the Kyoto protocol was now "very real."

A European Commission communication last month said developing countries will need €100 billion a year by 2020 to mitigate the effects of climate change and limit their CO2 emissions, and that the EU contribution should be in the range of €2-15 billion.

It also says the EU should provide €5bn-7bn of ‘fast track' funding between 2010 and 2013 to help developing countries ‘front-load' measures to tackle climate change.

But member states are divided over whether national contributions should be based on ability to pay or on current emission levels, a question Poland and eight other members want resolved before the EU announces how much it will contribute to the global fund.

The group of central and eastern EU countries also called for contributions to the ‘fast-track' funding to be "voluntary".

"We had a good opportunity today," said UK chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling. "Unfortunately, a number of countries wanted two things that the majority found unacceptable."

The failure of finance ministers to reach an agreement on individual contributions means EU leaders meeting in Brussels next week will now have to turn more attention to the issue if a common negotiating position is to be reached before December's crunch meeting.

Financial regulation and tax

On the question of financial regulation, the UK held off from a final agreement on a pan-European risk board, which will now need approval at a December summit of EU leaders.

The European Commission came forward with legislative proposals for the risk board and three micro-level supervisory authorities last month.

Austria and Luxembourg proved to be the stick-in-the-muds over a commission-negotiated agreement with Liechtenstein on "tax fraud, evasion and avoidance".

It was hoped that a successful deal would lead to the opening of similar negotiations with Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino, regarding the sharing of depositors' data with EU governments.

Von der Leyen gives Timmermans green deal

EU Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen announced that Frans Timmermans will coordinate the European 'Green Deal' and climate action policies.

EU experts agree pesticide may damage unborn children

There are no safe levels for exposure to the pesticides chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl, EU experts have said in a preliminary-finding into the pesticide - suggesting an EU-wide ban is a step closer.

News in Brief

  1. Saudi oil production in flames after drone attack
  2. US: attack on Saudi oil came from Iran or Iraq
  3. Poll: Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang largest party
  4. Nationalist parties to support Sanchez if he makes deal
  5. EU finance ministers support simplification of fiscal rules
  6. Italy's Renzi ready to set up new political force
  7. Two independents come top in Tunisia presidential election
  8. Nearly 100 refugees evacuated from Libya to Italy

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. In detail: Belgium's EU nominee faces crime probe
  2. France urges EU virtual currency rules amid Libra risk
  3. Brexit and new commission in focus This WEEK
  4. As recession looms Europe needs more spending
  5. How should the EU handle Russia now?
  6. EU defence bravado criticised by auditors
  7. Central European leaders demand Balkan EU accession
  8. Luxembourg's cannabis legalisation is EU opportunity

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us