Monday

27th Feb 2017

Gore doubts EU leadership abilities

  • 'I think the United States is the only nation that can lead the world' (Photo: Lisbon Council)

Former US vice-president Al Gore has raised strong doubts about the European Union's ability to give global leadership, particularly on climate change - an area where the EU prides itself as setting an example to others.

"Some have speculated that sometime in the future, if the European Union actually unifies to a much higher degree, and has a president, and an effective legislative body that has real power, they might somehow emerge, with potential for global leadership. I'm not going to hold my breath," he said during a testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on tackling climate change.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"I don't want to be too proud, you know, to be chest-beating about that, but I think the United States is the only nation that can lead the world," continued Mr Gore, according to AFP news agency.

Referring to global warming, he said: "This is the one challenge that could completely end human civilization."

His comments come as the EU has just unveiled proposals for securing international agreement on how to tackle climate change after 2012, when the current arrangement expires.

The talks will take place in Copenhagen this year. Until now, the EU has made much of the fact that it has led the field in setting up an emissions trading system – where industry trades pollution credits – and agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the bloc by 20 percent by 2020.

It has also been easy for the EU to date to have the moral upper hand over the US on climate change issues with the previous US administration having a poor environment record.

However, US president Barack Obama has already sounded a different note and pledged that Washington will take the environment dossier in hand.

If Washington pulls its weight on climate change, it will throw Europe's green credentials into the spotlight, with individual EU member states often bickering over what green goals to set, how they should be achieved and who should pay for them.

The Gore comments also touch on a wider debate in Europe on EU leadership. A reform of the EU's institutional rules, known as the Lisbon Treaty, would give the bloc a permanent president and foreign minister and increase the power of the European Parliament.

But analysts wonder whether the 27 member states – particularly big players such as Germany, France and the UK – will ever be able to unite behind a president or foreign minister to give them the political room they need to be able to properly represent the European Union.

Column / Health Matters

The yin and yang of traditional Chinese medicine

Can traditional medicine help the modern European patient? Malta has signed an agreement with China that would increase the provision of traditional Chinese medicine to its citizens.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Searching for a voice and a standard bearer

As Britons come to terms with the reality of Brexit many Remainers are now listless, looking for someone to present a viable alternative to Theresa May's dominance

Opinion

The Lake Chad Basin crisis

With no end in sight to the "tragedy", humanitarian agencies must call for international political and security engagement, the UN's head of migration says.

Le Pen wants to 'do away' with EU

The far-right presidential candidate said that she would create a "Europe of free nations", while taking France out of Nato command and "tie up" Russia to Europe.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Searching for a voice and a standard bearer

As Britons come to terms with the reality of Brexit many Remainers are now listless, looking for someone to present a viable alternative to Theresa May's dominance

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations