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Poland Leads East European Opposition To EU Climate Deal

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Henry Foy, Christian Oliver and Pilita Clark, Financial Times

Poland and other eastern European countries are prepared to scupper the EU’s landmark climate change deal next week if they do not receive greater guarantees about their future energy costs.

Spearheaded by Germany, Britain and France, the EU wants to seal an agreement at a summit on October 23-24 to ensure the 28-member bloc will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But coal-dependent Poland and some of its neighbours argue that the EU’s proposals to compensate them for modernising their heavy industry do not go far enough.

The opponents to the deal, led by Poland and the Czech Republic, but also including Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, are ready to walk away from the summit if they are not offered improved terms.

“This may fail,” Rafal Trzaskowski, Poland’s European affairs minister, told the Financial Times. “We have our well-entrenched red lines . . . If they are not ready to take into consideration our apprehensions, then we will decide later this week or early next week not to deal with the issue at the summit.”

Brussels wants to compensate eastern European nations for the potential costs by allocating them allowances from the EU’s carbon market but officials in Warsaw argue that the current plan on the table cannot guarantee enough cash that the huge overhaul of its coal industry requires to meet the EU’s targets.

A delay in finalising the EU’s 2030 energy and climate targets would be a setback for international climate talks aimed at getting nearly 200 countries to seal a new global deal in Paris in December next year.

The central Europeans think that their best chance of a sweetened deal is to postpone a decision on the emission reduction targets into the next commission, rather than accept a rushed compromise this month. Brussels is proposing that, by 2030, countries should reduce their emissions by 40 per cent from 1990 levels.

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