EU chaos: Deep divisions erupt as Brussels leaders fail to agree on climate change plans

Prince William warns of climate change emergency

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Poland was singled out by EU colleagues as one country attempting to sink the bloc’s hopes to significantly reduce its carbon emissions in the coming years. Warsaw is concerned that it will be left worse-off under plans for a new burden-sharing mechanism for climate targets that is due to be proposed by the European Commission. As a result, the measure was dropped from conclusions on climate discussions held by EU leaders at a special summit in Brussels.

The EU’s so-called Emissions Trading System is meant to divide up emissions cuts between countries based on a formula.

The mechanism relies mostly of Gross Domestic Product, meaning poorer countries will have to slash their greenhouse gas outputs less.

However, the finer details of the system detailing emission rules were dropped from a planned statement by EU leaders.

Poland was said to have rejected endorsing the conclusions and instead, a placeholder was inserted.

It said: “The European Council will revert to the matter at an appropriate time after the Commission’s proposals have been submitted.”

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki argued the system would hit countries like his that aren’t at an advanced stage in their transition away from high-polluting energy sources.

Warsaw wants compensation for plans to expand the ETS, which Commission boss Ursula von der leyen suggested could also include cars and buildings in the future.

Mr Morawiecki told the European Council summit that the measure would cost an additional €4 billion for his country.

Romania, Hungary and Latvia also issued similar warnings, while richer countries, including Germany, urged Eastern states to stomach the new rules.

EU leaders were discussing the Commission’s “Fit-for-55” policy package, which aims to detail how the bloc can cut emissions 55 percent by 2030.

In a post-summit news conference, Mrs von der Leyen admitted the new plans “may have a social impact”.

There is an expectation that consumers may have to pay higher fuel and heating bills unless a compensation system is introduced.

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Belgian PM Alexander De Croo told reporters there was no point holding climate talks in the current vacuum.

He said the in-depth discussions should only start when the Commission has released its proposal.

He said: “Today’s discussion on climate didn’t raise any new elements, but it was politically important that everyone could again set priorities.

“Once the Commission presents its analysis, we will have a new basis for discussion. To have that discussion now in a vacuum, wouldn’t make sense.”

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He said that cost-efficiency had to be considered when national emission reduction targets are announced.

But European Council President Charles Michel voiced confidence in the Commission’s climate change policy.

He said: “We have affirmed our common goals, which are ambitious.”

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