A drive to improve European Union energy security risks being “held hostage” to a push for a fast and ambitious agreement on future EU climate policies, according to a Polish diplomat.
Poland’s calls on EU leaders to unite behind a long-term energy strategy at a summit this week in Belgium are opposed by some EU governments that support cutting greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030, a goal the Polish government objects to, according to the diplomat, who asked not to be identified, citing policy.
The countries, which the diplomat declined to identify, aim to overcome Poland’s opposition to the ambitious climate goals by making a tactical link between energy security and carbon policies, the diplomat said.
At their June 26-27 meeting, the EU leaders will agree to enact a set of short-term measures to avoid disruptions in natural-gas supply this winter after Russia this month cut deliveries to Ukraine, according to draft conclusions of the summit obtained by Bloomberg News. Europe should also back long-term steps including increasing transparency, boosting its bargaining power and pledging financing for key energy infrastrustrure projects, the Polish diplomat said.
The European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm in Brussels, proposed in January that leaders back stepping up emission cuts to 40 percent by 2030 compared with the 2020 goal of lowering greenhouse gases by 20 percent from 1990 levels. EU heads of state and government pledged in March to focus on energy security at their June summit and agree on the climate and energy framework by October. Their decisions require unanimity.
The 28-nation EU is divided on the impact of the Ukrainian crisis, with Germany calling for ambitious carbon-reduction, renewables and energy-efficiency goals to lower the reliance on imported fossil fuels. A group of predominantly east European countries led by Poland urges caution and guarantees that nations will be allowed to use domestic resources, such as coal and shale gas.
While Poland ackowledges a link between climate policy and energy-security measures, it wants to use the momentum to strengthen the bloc’s resilience, said the diplomat. The east European country wants to have more analysis from the commission on the cost of sharing the emission-reduction burden before it can sign off on a deal on 2030 goals, the diplomat said.
The EU needs to stick to the October deadline and back a domestic greenhouse-gas reduction target that would be at least in line with the commission’s proposal, an advisory panel to ministers from 14 countries in the Green Growth Group said in a report last week. The group, which supports ambitious climate policies, includes representatives of the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia and Estonia.