17 Jan 2020, 13:48
Julian Wettengel

Greens want Germany to turn its 2020 EU Council presidency into a “climate presidency”

Clean Energy Wire

The Greens in Germany’s federal parliament want the government to turn the German presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2020 into a “climate presidency”. At that time, “all eyes are on Germany’s responsibility for Europe”, says a motion of the opposition party debated in the Bundestag on 17 January. While the EU has a wide array of challenges to tackle, the “most pressing task is the climate crisis”. More than ever, Germany and the EU are called upon to lead by example, to become international pioneers in climate action, the Greens argue. “We Europeans must finally have the courage and foresight to want to help shape world events and Germany carries a special responsibility when it holds the presidency of the EU Council,” said Green group spokesperson for EU policy Franziska Brantner. Minister of state for Europe in the foreign ministry Michael Roth (SPD) said that the government aimed to coordinate its work programme – which it has yet to present – with partners and the European Commission, which is scheduled to present its own 2020 programme on 29 January. Climate action is among the points which will shape the German presidency, alongside Brexit, the EU’s long-term financial planning, the rule of law and social policy, he said. “If our partners and we can assert ourselves in terms of the multi-annual financial framework, 25 percent of all expenditures will have to be linked to the climate,” he said.

European climate diplomats are facing a busy 2020, and Germany looks set to play a key role as it holds the EU Council presidency in the second half of the year. After the UN climate conference in Madrid left many disappointed, countries are now set to ratchet up ambitions under the Paris Agreement. EU member states are facing tough talks on how to increase the bloc-wide 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target in time for the COP 26 summit in Glasgow in November. Many see the EU-China summit in Leipzig in September as an opportunity for the two regions to announce more ambitious policies.

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