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18 Oct 2019, 11:38
Sven Egenter Freja Eriksen

Macron and Merkel back EU carbon neutrality 2050, European green deal

France and Germany have backed the goals put forward by the incoming EU commission in a joint declaration, calling for a rapid adoption for the proposed European Green Deal. German chancellor Angela Merkel stressed in a speech to parliament that the EU had to consider the different starting point of the member states, pledging support for those with a larger transformation ahead. [Updates with Merkel quotes.]

Clean Energy Wire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron emphasised unity on European climate action at a joint cabinet meeting in Toulouse, calling for the rapid adoption of a European Green Deal. In a joint declaration, the two leaders said they wanted the European Union to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and supported the introduction of a minimum CO2 price within the framework of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). They also said they wished to explore ways to introduce a WTO-compliant EU border tax, which would be levied on products imported from countries with less environmentally friendly standards. This would ensure that the European industry remained competitive. The French and German leaders said they wanted to strengthen the role of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in climate finance, making it "the EU climate bank."

In the German parliament, Merkel said it was important to consider the specific situations of European countries, such as Poland and Sweden, when it came to carbon neutrality and offer support in their structural transitions. "Europe is showing that it is committed to the Paris Agreement and the enshrined 1.5° goal and to climate-neutrality," she said. "We don’t have a full agreement about the implementation among all member states.

"It does make obviously a difference if a country like Poland still gets 80% of its energy from coal or like Sweden already gets over 50% of its energy consumption from renewables," Merkel said. "For that reason, Europe will support the member states in their move to climate neutrality in order to remain on the forefront globally in climate policy in the medium term.”

Germany was first reported to join a group of EU countries supporting the pledge for carbon neutrality by 2050 in June 2019. However, some European countries, among them Poland, have not signed up yet. With a new sustainable finance strategy, Germany's government furthermore hopes to better align financial policies with climate targets. At an industry summit in Frankfurt, a government representative said sustainable finance should take centre stage in international forums in order to reach a "global consensus."

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