EU leaders fail to agree on climate change fund

A ROW over how EU countries should contribute to poorer nations to help them cope with climate change threatened to scupper the union’s chances of agreeing their Copenhagen policy last night.

Germany and a number of other countries believe that the EU should not say how much they are willing to contribute to what will be a multi-billion euro fund for less developed countries.

But Poland and eight other central and eastern European countries want the union to agree how much each country in the EU will provide before deciding what the EU will contribute.

The thorny question could not be solved by the finance ministers earlier this month and was left for the leaders to decide at the summit.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said it was essential for the EU to agree its climate package to ensure Europe keeps its leadership role on combating global warning and to ensure success at the Copenhagen meeting next month.

But the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he would not be rushed into making a deal, saying that they would have to return to the question at another summit before Copenhagen if necessary.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear that her position would not change as she believes that the EU should not show their hand before the union knows what other countries are willing to contribute.

Some other countries would like that each country’s contribution would be based on their GDP while others believe it should be based on the quantity of their greenhouse gas emissions.

Most of the EU is anxious that it would not be based just on GDP as if this was applied to the global deal planned for Copenhagen next month, Europe as the world’s wealthiest bloc, would end up paying a massive amount.

Mr Reinfeldt, whose government holds the rotating EU presidency, said after their discussions last night that they would put forward new proposals on the issue this morning in an attempt to break the deadlock.

This is expected to fudge the issue of just how much each country would contribute and say that any EU contribution would be organised in an efficient, fair and internally agreed way.

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin welcomed that member states were willing to take account of the economic and financial situation of when calculating each country’s contribution towards a fast-start fund to help developing countries in the short term.

NGOs have been anxious in case countries will dip into their development aid to poorer countries to pay for the climate change fund for poorer countries.

Mr Martin said that there would be a ceiling of some 10% on this and he added that already development aid was dealing with the effects of climate change.

The Swedes are expected to suggest that both GDP and emissions should be taken into account when calculating what the developed countries should pay and that there should be a considerable weight on emission level, and that this should increase over time.

A figure of €€5-€7 billion needed to fast-start international public support for the developing countries should be agreed by the EU but only provided that other key players are prepared to make comparable efforts.

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