Brussels (dpa) – Budget dispute, climate target, sanctions against Turkey: Before the summit next week, the European Union will fight for a common line on important issues.
Charles Michel, president of the EU Council, admitted on Friday that after Hungary and Poland vetoed the EU budget and Corona aid, no solution had yet been found. The planned tightening of the EU climate target for 2030 does not yet have the support of all 27 states.
The last regular EU summit of the year is next Thursday and Friday. Particularly in the dispute over the € 1.8 trillion budget package, a way out is urgently sought, otherwise the EU would have to start the year 2021 with an emergency budget and the € 750 billion corona aid would also be frozen.
Michel said at a press conference on the results of his first year in office that the German presidency of the EU Council is looking for a way out. He declined to comment on proposals for a solution without Poland and Hungary. The two countries are blocking the budget package because they reject the rule of law clause. The European Commission is currently investigating the possibilities of establishing the Corona Aid Fund without the two countries.
However, Michel said his priority would be full implementation of the package agreed by the 27 states in July. This is also important for the credibility of the EU. “That is our number one goal for the coming days,” said Michel.
Under great time pressure, a solution is still being sought in the negotiations on a trade pact with Great Britain after the exit from the EU has become fully effective. These are not closed and you do not know what will be on the table, Michel said. But he stressed that the final decision rests with the 27 EU states: “Member States will have to decide, as will the British side,” Michel said. “Member States have to say yes or no, and if one side of the table says no, we have a no deal.”
In the dispute about the new EU climate target for 2030, Michel tries to overcome the resistance of some states. Not all 27 states support the European Commission’s proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Germany is behind it. But Poland and other Central European countries, which rely heavily on coal, have reservations and are demanding financial assistance. The tightening is intended to help meet the Paris climate agreement and end dangerous global warming.
Another topic at the summit is whether new EU sanctions should be imposed on Turkey for its provocative policies towards Greece and Cyprus. Michel said the assessment of developments since the beginning of October has not been positive. There have been other unilateral acts and hostile reports and rhetoric. Therefore, the next steps will be discussed at the EU summit.
The main focus of the dispute is Greece and Cyprus’ allegations that Turkey is illegally investigating natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish government rejects this and takes the view that the search for natural gas is legitimate.