Climate goals now just a footnote in EU

The EU heads of government and state were unable to agree at a special summit on the goal of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 because Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia blocked the decision. A mere footnote now states that "a large number of states" want to achieve this goal. Commentators are incensed and stress that this won't be the end of the matter.

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Stern (DE) /

Committed climate protectors wanted

Warsaw shouldn't be so small-minded, Stern magazine criticises:

“The crucial issue for Poland was the demand for support in making the transition from a predominantly coal-based energy supply. However, the devil is in the detail, and for now a plan can't be agreed on. But why not? The ambitious climate goals for 2050 preclude procrastinators. Reaching them will require people of conviction and resolve, although this will admittedly apply more for some than for others. Nevertheless, as Poland also stresses, the goals can only be reached through joint efforts. Relegating the ambitions of the overwhelming majority to a footnote is literally treading underfoot the shared goals and concerns of many.”

El País (ES) /

Remind the East of its duties

Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia have fundamentally misinterpreted what it means to be an EU member state, El País complains:

“Once again the opposition of a handful of Eastern European countries has weakened the proposal, turning it into a mere declaration of intent. ... The opponents are demanding financial compensation for the extra effort they would have to make. The EU should consider their demand, but they should also be reminded that being a member of the EU doesn't just bring advantages and rights, but also costs and obligations.”

Polityka (PL) /

EU won't just back down

Poland hasn't done itself any favours with its blockade mentality, Polityka finds:

“The position of the Polish prime minister, although not surprising, comes as a disappointment for several Western European leaders. The French had hoped that Morawiecki could be persuaded with the promise of additional financial support in return for the reduced emissions. ... The problem from Poland's point of view is that the EU won't simply drop the topic of climate neutrality and may soon slip it through the back door: in the form of an EU Commission directive which requires only a majority of votes instead of the approval of all EU countries. Climate neutrality can also be pushed through by coupling access to EU funds to a reduction of emissions.”

Postimees (EE) /

Rethink energy production

Estonia also rejected the climate target and is currently contemplating the switch from coal to burning wood and oil shale. Environmental activist Siim Kuresoo finds this stance incomprehensible in Postimees:

“Many miners are facing unemployment and loss of income. ... The government is reacting and offering solutions. But it's incomprehensible that it isn't trying to address the broader question: what can we do to restore the faith of families, communities and the entire region in the future? ... Instead it's asking: what can we burn now? ... This approach is harmful to the environment and unsustainable both economically and socially. The approach of burning wood for energy and producing oil from oil shale is completely unacceptable in the context of the climate crisis.”