Poland and other more recent and poorer EU members threatened to block agreement on a financial package for funding global warming action in the developing world, a central plank of the international pact needed if the Copenhagen talks are to succeed. At the end of yesterday’s talks, no deal had been agreed on funding for tackling climate change in developing countries. Talks are to continue today.
Chairing last night’s Brussels summit, Fredrik Reinfeldt, the prime minister of Sweden, said Europe’s claim to lead the world on global warming was at stake. But the Poles, Hungarians, and Lithuanians fiercely criticised the outline deal tabled by the Swedes.
The Swedes and the European commission, as well as Britain, called for the EU to agree a package of up to €15bn (£13.4bn) of public money for transfers to developing countries by 2020. They want the bill to be split on the basis of the greenhouse gas emissions and economic prowess of each of the 27 member states.
The Poles and other east Europeans maintain that they cannot afford to pay a fair share of the bill, particularly since some of the east European countries have been hit particularly hard by the financial crisis.
The €15bn is supposed to be the European share of the developed world’s bill of up to €50bn of public-sector spending by 2020. The EU also hoped to agree on transitional funding of up to €7bn a year, starting from next year, for the developing world.
The Germans last night objected to pinning down the short-term fund now. But the bigger problem came from east European opposition over how the bill should be split.
“In its current form, the burden sharing is not acceptable,” said Gordon Bajnai, the Hungarian prime minister.
Senior officials said the Poles were also refusing to agree to the terms.
The Swedes have offered a compromise which would include “readjustment” mechanisms for the poorer EU member states in the form of rebates, or via other refunds.
“The poorer countries in eastern Europe have been more reluctant. Some of the richer ones have been less forward than us,” said a senior UK official.
The poorest EU member states, such as Romania and Bulgaria, are complaining that the European subsidies will go to some developing countries, such as Brazil, which are wealthier than they are.
While Sweden, Denmark, Britain, and the European commission said that the EU had to agree a package now in order to send a strong signal to Copenhagen, put pressure on the US and other countries to agree similar funding, and retain the pioneering role it claims on climate change, Germany was reluctant to commit to figures publicly, arguing that the Europeans should not reveal their hand until the “card game” got under way properly in Copenhagen.
“You cannot simply wait right until the very end of Copenhagen to do this,” said the British official. “We need to explain the terms in which we want countries to put their commitments on the table, and now is the time to do it.”