Wednesday

26th Jun 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.

Exclusive

EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'

The EU Commission will now spend €3.4m next year to rent cars for emissions testing - after EUobserver revealed that models loaned by the manufacturer were then subject to commercial confidentiality clauses.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

Opinion

EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights

Behind the smiles and handshakes, the signature of the EU-Vietnam trade and investment deals agreed on Tuesday and to be signed this week have dire consequences for human well-being and our ability to prevent climate and ecological breakdown.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us