CAN Europe response: EU Foreign Affairs Minister Council Conclusions on 21st February 2022

Climate action| Financing the transition

On 21 February, EU Foreign Affairs Ministers met in Brussels and adopted the conclusions “EU Climate Diplomacy: climate diplomacy: accelerating the Implementation of Glasgow outcomes”, alongside with a press release issued specifically on that matter. This comes 100 days after world’s governments met in Glasgow for the 26th UN climate change conference COP26. CAN Europe had laid out its key recommendations for the conclusions in a letter to ministers.

Sven Harmeling, International Climate Policy Coordinator at CAN Europe:
“Today’s climate diplomacy conclusions adopted by EU Foreign Ministers can mark an important milestone in stepping up the EU’s external action ambition. But this requires that they are followed up with swift, coherent and ambitious action for scaling-up international climate finance, putting an end to finance for fossil fuels, and developing concrete partnerships for phasing down coal use and other fossil fuels. The EU, with the Commission, the External Action Service and the Member States, need to make use of every upcoming opportunity to accelerate climate action in line with the 1.5°C temperature limit and to build climate resilience with its partner countries in an inclusive manner.”

More specifically, CAN Europe:

  • Welcomes that ministers clearly recognise the climate emergency, security and sustainable development threats that emerge from increasing climate crisis, the work of the UN Security Council in that regard and the growing loss and damage from climate impacts;
  • Will closely monitor the EU’s intent to proactively engage in the Glasgow Dialogue on L&D and its commitment to work towards a successful conclusion of the Dialogue, which must establish new and additional finance to address the growing loss and damage in the Global South;
  • Supports their commitment to strengthening EU’s climate diplomacy and step up its monitoring, which is important for the EU to deliver a coherent and ambitious approach to its external climate cooperation aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goals of keeping global temperature increase within the 1.5°C threshold and building climate resilience;
  • Urges the EU to take concrete next steps to deliver on the promise of ending fossil fuel subsidies “along a clear timeline, with the aim of setting milestones for their phase-out;” this must encompass all finance for fossil fuels and associated infrastructure and lead to an immediate end to any support through the EU budget;
  • Supports the call to operationalise the Just Energy Transition partnership with South Africa partnership and to set up similar ones, noting they should be people-centered and involve local civil society, workers, trade unions, affected communities and other stakeholders; Showcasing concrete progress here by COP27 at the latest will be a litmus test for developed countries’ credibility;
  • We welcome the acknowledgement of the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and the readiness of the EU to support the ambitions in the Western Balkans. Nevertheless, we urge the EU to concretely follow with the action and financial plan for the Green Agenda, as well as to further empower the Energy Community Treaty to set ambitious targets for its Western Balkans Contracting Parties, and to make sure that compliance of implementation is carried through;
  • Appreciates that ministers agree to lead the way on increasing adaptation finance, in line with the Glasgow Pact commitment to double collective provision by 2025, and that they aim to reach the 100 billion goal of climate finance for developing countries in 2022 rather than 2023, and reaffirm that the EU will provide EUR 4 bn of climate finance on top of the budget spending target; however, ministers have failed to recognise that the delay in reaching the 100bn target must be compensated for by achieving 100bn on average over the 2020-2025 period to accelerate climate action in developing countries, and that 50% of the goal in adaptation finance should be achieved at the latest by 2025;
  • Recalls that governments at COP26 have been requested to revisit their 2030 mitigation targets; but the European Commission and Member States have not yet made any indication on their plans to step up the current EU 55% target which is insufficient; the Fit for 55 package negotiation must resulted in policy measures which bring the EU to at least 65% emission reductions by 2030;
  • Welcomes that the FAC conclusions also highlight the need to integrate human rights into climate action and energy diplomacy and to uphold, promote and protect gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.