Estonia: EU countries agree on a common climate target for 2030

NordenBladet — European Union heads of state and government agreed on a target of reducing EU-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. Last night, the Council also reached a final agreement on the EU’s next seven-year budget and recovery facility.

According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, setting a new EU-wide target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is very important to keep a more reasonable pace for achieving climate neutrality in Europe by 2050. The Council will return to this issue in the spring to provide further guidelines before the European Commission presents legislative proposals in June 2021.

“We need to make the green turn in a smart, affordable and realistic way and it must become a strategy for economic sustainability and growth. The transition must also consider the specificities of countries and industries, but also the current dependence on fossil fuels. It is important to ensure equal competition with producers from countries outside the EU,” said the Prime Minister.

According to Ratas, it is very important for 30 percent of the joint funds of the future long-term budget and the recovery facility to be directed to investments necessary to achieve the climate targets. A total of 3.3 billion euros has been allocated to Estonia for activities that reduce environmental and climate impact. This also includes 340 million euros of support from the new Fair Transition Fund, this support is primarily necessary to achieve changes in Ida-Virumaa. Last week, the government decided on specific directions to support the green turn and technological transition throughout the economy.

Estonia’s national target by 2030 is to reduce greenhouse gases by 70%. According to the data of 2019, Estonia has already reduced emissions by 62% compared to 1990. Despite this, Estonia’s carbon footprint is the fourth largest, per capita, in Europe, which is why we have to continue working on the issue.

Ratas welcomed the final agreement on the European Union’s next long-term budget and recovery facility and revealed hope for the necessary procedures being completed quickly so that the budget can be implemented from the start of 2021. “This is a very important agreement for the people of Estonia and all other Member States as well. It will provide the people and economy of both Estonia and other European countries with additional confidence for the future and significant support for overcoming the crisis,” the Prime Minister emphasised.

“The year 2021, when the new seven-year budget period also begins, must be the year for the recovery and revitalisation of the European economy, as the health crisis will be alleviated and a vaccine will arrive. New investments and reforms will help us to revitalise the European economy, secure jobs for our people and create a greener and more digital future,” said Ratas.

Yesterday, the Council discussed joint efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and welcomed recent announcements on the development of operational vaccines and the European Commission’s work to secure the vaccines for EU Member States. State authorities and the healthcare system are making preparations to start vaccination as soon as the vaccines arrive in Estonia. The first vaccines may receive EU marketing authorisation by the end of the year, and deliveries to Estonia are expected in January.

The Council notes in its conclusions that the arrival of vaccines does not mean an immediate end to the pandemic and that the epidemiological situation in Europe remains concerning.

Yesterday, EU heads of state and government approved proposals on how to further strengthen the strategic transatlantic relationship with the United States, based on common values and interests.

The Council called on Turkey to ease tensions and decided to impose further restrictive measures against illegal drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Council also decided to keep the economic sanctions against Russia in effect for the next six months.

Today, on 11 December, heads of state discussed EU relations with its southern neighbours, security issues and the fight against terrorism. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen provided the heads of Member States with an overview of negotiations over future relations being held with the United Kingdom.

The Euro Summit will also be held today, focusing on subsequent steps to be taken by the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union.

Estonia’s positions are being represented in the Council by Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, since Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will remain in self-isolation until Saturday, as he came into contact with a person who later tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

 



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