EU leaders to back conditional climate aid pledge


European Union leaders meeting in Brussels today (24 March) are set to confirm their commitment to providing €2.4 billion in immediate support to help poor nations tackle global warming, but only if other industrialised nations also make similar contributions, according to draft summit conclusions obtained by EURACTIV.

"The EU and its member states will implement their commitment to provide €2.4 billion annually over the 2010-2012 period for fast-start financing," read the draft conclusions of the European Council, which is taking place on 25-26 March.

Speaking at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso stressed the importance of "respecting our pledges on fast-start finance" in order to build trust with developing countries.

EU leaders will discuss climate change issues on Friday, leaving the first day of the meeting for economic debates.

The objective is to agree on "a more step-by-step approach" to further the negotiations at global level, as pointed out by the permanent president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in his letter of invitation to the summit sent to EU leaders this week.

A more step-by-step approach implies that the EU will abide by its commitments, but will also require parallel moves from other industrialised nations.

Indeed, the EU pledge for €2.4 billion a year in fast-start funding for developing countries will only happen "alongside contributions by other key players," according to the summit conclusions.

Developing countries are invited to take "meaningful and transparent actions […] to mitigate climate change" in order to benefit from the longer term financial contributions promised by the EU and other developed countries.

Industrialised countries committed in Copenhagen to jointly mobilising $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries in their fight against climate change.

Future actions

European leaders will underline that "the EU will strengthen its outreach to third countries […] by addressing climate change at all regional and bilateral meetings” before the crucial UN climate change conference in Cancún, Mexico, according to the draft conclusions.

A "preliminary state of play" of EU commitments on fast-start funding is due to be presented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, starting at the end of May, says the draft text.

Ahead of the UN conference in Cancún, scheduled at the end of the year, Europe will try to address climate change issues at all levels, including at the G20 meeting in Toronto, Canada, on 26-27 June.

An EU diplomat confirmed yesterday (24 March) that the European Union will have a "unique" but "two-headed" delegation in Canada, led by EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

The Copenhagen conference in December 2009 was designed to achieve a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

But after two weeks of extenuating talks, world leaders delivered an agreement that left Europeans disappointed, as it did not include binding commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions (EURACTIV 19/12/09).

The face-saving deal, dubbed the 'Copenhagen Accord', established a goal to keep global temperature rises below 2°C in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

The Copenhagen Accord prescribed that developed countries would provide close to $30 billion in so-called "fast-start" aid for developing countries for 2010-2012, rising to $100 billion a year by 2020.

EU finance ministers at their last meeting on 16 March called for cash to be mobilised "urgently" in order to help developing countries tackle climate change (EURACTIV 12/03/10).

  • 31 May-11 June 2010: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change session in Bonn.
  • 26-27 June 2010: G20 in Toronto.
  • Nov-Dec 2010: UN climate change conference in Cancún, Mexico.

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