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24/08/2016

Poland says it ‘won’ at the EU summit

Energy

Poland says it ‘won’ at the EU summit

Ewa Kopacz [IAR/Flickr]

Polish PM Ewa Kopacz said today (24 October) after the EU summit adopted a common EU position, that her country had “won” and had received from the EU everything that it asked for.

“The news for Poles is good,” Kopacz told the press. This was her first appearance at an EU summit since she replaced Donald Tusk as head of a new government, her predecessor being elected as President of the European Council, a post he will take up starting 1 December.

 

 

>> Read: Poland unveils new cabinet line-up

On Thursday night, EU leaders committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and increase energy efficiency and renewables by at least 27%.

French President François Hollande said the deal would send a clear message to big polluters such as China and the United States, ahead of UN talks in Paris next year, to agree on global legally binding greenhouse gas emissions.

A special “flexibility clause” was added to the final text, making it possible for the European Council to return to the targets after the UN climate change summit in Paris, in December 2015.

>> Read: EU leaders adopt ‘flexible’ energy and climate targets for 2030

The package agreed on included provisions to compensate poorer nations like Poland, who rely on coal for around 90% of its energy needs, making the cuts less expensive for industry.

Under the deal, Poland will be able to transfer emission permits to power sector firms free of charge, which should guarantee that electricity prices do not grow. Poland had earlier threatened to veto any move by the EU that would increase electricity prices.

The summit also decided on a reserve fund financed from 2% of overall carbon emission allowances, in order to finance energy sector investments. The initial Commission proposal had been of 1%.

According to unofficial data quoted by the Polish Press Agency (PA), Poland will receive a total of 7.5 billion zloty from this source by 2030.

Kopacz said that the 2% reserve fund took account of GDP per capita, which according means that Poland receives half of the reserve fund, which in Kopacz’ words is approximately 134 million tons of emissions allowances under ETS, in addition.

The Polish Prime Minister explained that the country’s experts had made very thorough calculations before the summit conclusions were actually drawn. It was because of their efforts that the outcome of the summit was a success, she said.

Asked if the flexibility clause could in some way turn against Polish interests, in case of success of the Paris summit, Kopacz statedthat she saw no danger that Poland’s interest would be harmed, because the decisions would be taken by consensus at a European Council meeting, where Poland holds veto rights.

Asked about her impressions from the summit, Kopacz said her counterparts had said this had been one of the most difficult for them, because of the complicated subject matter. Kopacz also said she took care of preparing well for the summit, by meeting for long hours with experts on ETS.

Polish diplomats said that the deal their country got at the EU summit, which in their words was based on solidarity, could be a model for a deal at the Paris conference with the developing countries, who could be compared to Poland vis-à-vis the more developed EU members.

Sikorski controversy ‘closed’

Asked about the hot topic of Radoslaw Sikorski,  the speaker of the Polish Parliament who is under pressure from the opposition to resign, Kopacz said the issue was closed, but indicated that in her capacity as leader of the Civic Party party to which he belongs, she had had a conversation with him in which she expressed criticism of his handling of the affair.

Sikorski, who until recently was foreign minister, originally told Politico on Monday that Vladimir Putin had suggested Poland should join in partitioning Ukraine with Russia.

On Tuesday, Sikorski told journalists, however, that his “memory had failed him” and that there was no such meeting in Moscow between Tusk and Putin in Moscow, as he claimed in the original interview.

Tusk, who was prime minister of Poland between 2007 and September this year, conformed no such meeting took place in the Russian capital.

Reports allege that Sikorki took Kopacz’ criticism badly.

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