Italy, Poland threaten to veto EU climate package

16 October 2008 10:32  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS news)--Italy and Poland have threatened to veto the the EU’s proposed climate package, putting French president Nicolas Sarkozy on the defensive on Thursday to save the bloc's ambitious plans to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

With France current holder of the sixth-month rotating EU presidency, Sarkozy said at the EU summit in Brussels that he remained determined to meet a December deadline for agreement on the package, which aims to cut EU GHG emissions by 20% by 2020.

“I'm not giving up either on the objectives or the timetable,” said the French president.

However, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said at the summit on Wednesday that it was “my intention to exercise my veto” on the package.

“Our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed,” he claimed.

The remark echoed similar threats by Poland earlier in the day.

Warsaw, backed by other Eastern European countries including Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia, is concerned that efforts to cut GHG emissions will hinder its economic growth and claims that it has already made significant efforts to cut emissions since 1990.

In the face of a global recession, Sarkozy will have to work hard to convince energy-intensive industry and Eastern European politicians that strict emissions targets will not further harm their competitiveness.  

The summit continues on Thursday.

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By: Philippa Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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