Tuesday

21st May 2019

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.

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

"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.

Feature

Salvini hosts anti-EU 'summit', as old ghosts haunt party

Italy's far-right League called for a "historic" defeat of pro-EU forces at its event in Milan this weekend, but fiscal clashes, fascist symbols, and mafia links cast Salvini's party in a controversial light.

Opinion

Europe's far-right - united in diversity?

Europe's far-right is set to rise in the next European Parliament election. This vote will not yet allow the populists to build a majority. But it may become another milestone in their process of changing European politics.

Agenda

EU votes on future leaders This WEEK

The political spotlight switches from Brussels to national capitals and regions this week as Europe gears up for the start of European Parliament elections on Thursday

May to step down after fourth EU vote

British prime minister Theresa May has agreed to step down after her fourth attempt to pass an EU exit deal in June - no matter what the outcome.

Europol busts global cybercrime gang

A loose network of cyber criminals recruited from an online Russian forum managed to infect thousands of computers in an effort to steal online banking credentials. The gang has been dismantled, with some now on the run.

Opinion

The ECB Song Contest?

One can't help feeling that the race to succeed Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank has taken on the flavor of the upcoming final round of the Eurovision Song Contest.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden Democrat MEP ousted for revealing sex harassment
  2. 80% of Erasmus students find job within three months
  3. September elections in Austria after Strache scandal
  4. Swiss voters approve tighter gun controls in line with EU
  5. Report: May's fourth Brexit vote a 'retread' of old ideas
  6. Turkey insists on right to drill for oil off Cyprus coast
  7. Anti-Salvini banners become new trend in Italy
  8. EU flies rainbow flag on anti-homophobia day

Opinion

Europe's far-right - united in diversity?

Europe's far-right is set to rise in the next European Parliament election. This vote will not yet allow the populists to build a majority. But it may become another milestone in their process of changing European politics.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us