Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has called on the EU member states to commit to the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. "I hope that will succeed, and that would be a strong sign that Europe is the continent that will be carbon neutral in 2050," said Merkel before the start of the EU summit in Brussels. The Federal Government supports the efforts of the new EU Commission Chair Ursula von der Leyen for a Green Deal in Europe and has committed itself to the goal of climate neutrality in 2050.
French President Emmanuel Macron was more skeptical - and brought nuclear power into play. "It's clear that we can not switch from one day to the other to renewable energy," said Macron in Brussels. "This is not possible." The IPCC has also acknowledged that nuclear power is "part of the transition".
EU Council President Charles Michel said he hopes for an agreement. The fight against climate change is "number one priority" and climate neutrality is an important goal for Europe. To implement this, the EU must invest heavily. However, this requires a unanimous decision.
Von der Leyen had presented its plans for a comprehensive strategy on Wednesday, so that in 2050 in the EU as many climate-damaging greenhouse gases can be compensated and discharged. The plan is for a profound restructuring of the EU economies in all areas, for which a total of 100 billion euros will be invested. The project is one of the main themes of the summit.
Climate protection - European Union plans climate neutrality by 2050 Ursula von der Leyen has presented the Green Deal for the EU in Brussels. The EU Commission President said it owed young people to act now. © Photo: Francisco Seco
Resistance is currently coming mainly from the Eastern European EU member states Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, which want to have financial commitments from the EU for the transition to a climate-friendly economy. Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babiš, like Macron, also called for the recognition of nuclear power as a "clean energy". Nuclear power produces "no emissions", said Babiš in Brussels. Without this energy source, the conversion of his country to climate neutrality would not be possible.
Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel said: "We believe that nuclear energy is neither sustainable nor safe." If individual countries wanted to rely on nuclear power, that was their right. EU funds should not exist for it.
Czech Prime Minister Babiš also referred to the high costs of switching to climate neutrality, which amounts to many billions for his country. At the same time, it would be necessary to consider "how we force China, Russia and India to reduce their emissions". Because these could then produce cheaper goods. Therefore, a CO2 border tax must also be discussed for countries whose environmental standards are lower than in Europe.