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Fight over top jobs and green cash top EU summit

Fight over top jobs and green cash top EU summit

European Union leaders open a difficult summit Thursday, facing an east-west rift over who should pay most to entice developing nations to sign up to a new global climate change pact.
They will also hold a first debate on who should fill the club's newly created post of EU president and other top jobs after Czech objections over the bloc's treaty held them back from clinching a full deal at the two-day meeting.
Summit chairman Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish prime minister, appealed to his EU counterparts to compromise on offering a climate aid figure, which he said was key to breaking the deadlock in international negotiations before the December climate summit in Copenhagen.
The European Commission has recommended EU nations pay up to ⁈lion ($22.18 billion) a year to developing nations, however aid and environmental groups say Europe should be prepared to pay ⁈lion a year by 2020.
Reinfeldt warned the 27-nation bloc's self-proclaimed leadership on climate change was on the line.
"It's crucial because we have a risk for a clear deadlock in the negotiations," said Reinfeldt. "The emerging economies are looking for financing and without it they will not make the required reduction targets."
Negotiations between EU governments on how to fund such aid collapsed last week amid deep disagreement among finance ministers over how to share the costs.
Poland and other poorer eastern EU member states are demanding richer, older states like Germany and France pay substantially more to such a fund. They argue amid the financial crisis they can ill afford to fork over millions and are blaming older members, that have polluted more over past years to give more.
Warsaw demands a deal that will link national contributions to past responsibility for adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
The disagreement has meant EU governments have postponed a plan to put a figure on their aid, delays that threaten to scuttle a deal at the U.N. Copenhagen summit.
Wealthy nations are seeking broad controls on emissions from all countries in the new pact, which is supposed to replace the U.N.'s 1997 Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide emissions.
But developing countries say industrialized nations _ who are responsible for much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere _ should carry most of the burden, saying tough emissions limits on poor countries would likely hamper their economic growth.
Leaders will also have their hands full with the EU's reform treaty and the refusal so far of lone holdout Czech President Vaclav Klaus to sign it.
Diplomats are confident however that EU leaders can agree to Klaus's demand for an opt-out from the treaty's Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Klaus, an ardent euroskeptic, is demanding an opt-out as condition for his signature over fears the charter will be used by ethnic Germans to reclaim land they lost in the Czech Republic after World War II.
Klaus is the only one yet to sign the treaty which streamlines decision-making and adds key posts like an EU president, and a more powerful foreign policy chief to boost the bloc's global influence.
Heated behind-the-scenes horse-trading of who will fill those posts has already started, despite the treaty dispute with Klaus.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker, and former Irish President Mary Robinson have all been pushed to become the EU's first full-time president.
Powers and tasks of the new EU chair have not yet been defined by the leaders, and agreeing to a name is linked to negotiations on filling the other open jobs of foreign policy chief and 25 commissioners.


Updated : 2021-01-18 16:34 GMT+08:00