Wednesday

25th May 2022

Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal

  • The European Union pavilion at the Bonn climate conference (Photo: European Commission)

Germany's outgoing environment minister said on Friday (17 November) that a Dutch proposal to increase the EU's emissions reduction target to 55 percent was "unrealistic".

"I don't think that the European Union will be capable of achieving this," minister Barbara Hendricks told this website at a press conference in Bonn, on the final day of international climate talks.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • German environment minister Hendricks, speaking because Germany is technically the host of this year's climate talks (the presidency is held by Fiji, but the summit is held in Bonn for practical reasons) (Photo: UNFCCC)

She spoke a day after newly-appointed Dutch minister for economic affairs and climate, Eric Wiebes, came to Bonn to find support for an increased climate ambition within the bloc.

In October 2014, EU leaders agreed that the EU should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

Wiebes wants to raise that reduction target to 55 percent, the same figure which Germany has set for itself.

"Germany wants to reduce by 55 percent and I'm quite convinced that we'll be able to achieve this," said Hendricks.

But she said "all of the EU" would not be able to do the same.

"We could be more ambitious, going a bit beyond the 40 percent already agreed, but I think 55 percent will not be realistic."

Hendricks, in government since December 2013, is a centre-left Social Democrat, whose party lost significantly at German parliament elections in September.

She is caretaker minister until coalition talks – which do not include her party – are wrapped up.

Nevertheless, she still speaks on behalf of Berlin and her dismissive comments will likely disappoint the new Dutch government, which began its work last month after lengthy, record-breaking coalition talks.

The Dutch coalition deal agreed in October already included the intention to increase the goal to 55 percent, but this week was the first time Wiebes presented it at an international forum.

He said neighbouring countries were "positive" that the Netherlands "wants to belong to the leading group", but did not say whether specific countries were convinced yet.

The Netherlands is mostly looking to countries in its neighbourhood and the Nordics.

Sweden has previously called for an increase beyond 50 percent.

"We will push for higher ambition," a member of the Swedish delegation at the Bonn conference told this website.

The "at least 40 percent" reduction target from 2014 was the result of difficult negotiations that culminated at an EU summit, where coal-reliant Poland and other eastern European countries had to be given some concessions.

It also included the possibility for the EU to review its targets, depending on how climate talks in Paris in 2015 played out - if negotiations collapsed, the targets could be revised downward.

Instead, the climate conference in Paris did lead to a historic climate agreement, which supports the argument for those EU countries that want to raise ambition.

But the Dutch coalition parties have also included in their coalition deal a contingency plan: if an increased EU target is not possible, they want to team up with "like-minded" countries in the north-west of Europe – like Germany – to reach "more ambitious agreements".

Whether Hendricks' successor will be open to that, will depend on the result of the German coalition talks between the two Christian-Democrat parties CDU and CSU, the Greens, and the Liberals.

German coalition talks in near collapse

Migration, climate and energy and finance policies are blocking the formation of a 'Jamaica' government between Christian-Democrats, liberals and Greens in Berlin.

EUobserved

Does Juncker even know what is in the Paris climate deal?

'To fix new goals again and again, doesn't make sense,' said the president of the European Commission. However, repeatedly ratcheting-up climate ambition is a key part of what was agreed in Paris.

EPP dismiss higher climate target as 'propaganda'

Most members of the European People's Party opposed an amendment which called on the EU to raise its emissions reductions target for 2030. A spokesman called it "unrealistic".

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

News in Brief

  1. France 'convinced' Ukraine will join EU
  2. Von der Leyen: Russia hoarding food as 'blackmail'
  3. Legal action launched against KLM over 'greenwashing'
  4. Orbán refuses to discuss Russia oil embargo at EU summit
  5. Turkey's Erdogan snubs Greek PM
  6. ECB: Crypto may pose a risk to financial stability
  7. UK PM Johnson faces renewed questions over Covid party
  8. Sweden gives 5th Covid shot to people over 65, pregnant women

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  2. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June
  3. 'No progress in years' in Libya, says UN migration body
  4. Toxic pesticide residue in EU fruit up 53% in a decade
  5. Orbán's overtures to Moscow are distasteful and detrimental
  6. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is back
  7. EU aims to seize Russian assets amid legal unclarity
  8. Close ties with autocrats means security risk, Nato chief warns

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us