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Poland opposition could rupture EU low-carbon negotiations

08 Mar 2012 16:02:38 | edcm


Denmark will end discussions on the EU's "Roadmap Towards a Low-Carbon Economy 2050" for the remainder of its EU presidency if member states' environment ministers fail to back the agenda on Friday. This would cause a "major break" in negotiations over Europe's low-carbon future, a Danish Presidency spokesman said on Thursday.

The road map is designed to provide deeper emissions targets for the bloc and tackle the issue of oversupply in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

The Danish EU Presidency, which is keen to see deeper emission cuts, put the low-carbon document on the agenda for the next meeting of the Environment Council (ENVI), which takes place on 9 March. The ENVI is made up by EU member states' ministers of climate and environment and meets about four times a year.

Ongoing opposition

Under the previous EU presidency led by Poland, the country used its position to oppose these changes to the EU ETS.

The spokesman confirmed on Thursday that Denmark was aware of reports that Poland plans to veto the road map again on Friday. "If they do we have a new situation," he said.

An expert for EU affairs at the Polish Ministry of Environment could not comment to confirm the country's planned opposition.

But the Danish Presidency spokesman stressed Denmark would remain open to discussions and that the text was not set in stone.

However, he said any potential concessions that could get Poland on board could push other member states away. "There is a majority of member states that don't want the [road map] watered down too much," he said, without wanting to name any countries.

Asked which aspects of the agenda Poland was expected to object to, he said: "[Poland] has a general dislike to the road map, but in particular they don't like mentioning of the milestones."

The road map, published by the European Commission last year, looks beyond the EU bloc's 2020 objectives and sets out a plan to meet the long-term target of reducing domestic emissions via date-specific milestones by 80-95% by 2050.

Among the recommendations in the low-carbon agenda, the Commission suggests the EU signs up to deeper emission cuts, setting a target of 25% by 2020, against 1990 levels, instead of the current 20% goal.

The spokesman conceded that if the ENVI rejects the agenda on Friday this would leave Denmark with few options left to push through more ambitious climate goals for the bloc during the remainder of its EU term.

"Don't expect the Danish presidency to pick it up again, unless Poland gives us a signal that they are willing to talk about it," he said. MLDB

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