The EU “disappointed” by the climate agreement at COP27

Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) (EFE) – Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said, “we are disappointed” about the failure to agree on “strong language” on the issue of climate change mitigation (reduction of polluting emissions) in the final text of the COP27 climate summit.

The Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan, approved this Sunday, urges countries to progressively reduce energy generation from coal – in plants that do not have carbon capture technologies – and to gradually abandon inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. These requests were already included in the final Glasgow text (COP26). For Timmermans, this plan “is not enough of a step forward for people and planet.”

“We wasted a lot of time already. And our people and planet have no more time to lose. We pledge to pick up speed again, starting now and here. And regain the momentum we had in Glasgow,” said Timmermans, who is responsible for the European Green Deal in the Commission.

The main result that has come out of Sharm el Sheikh: a fund to finance losses and damages in developing countries that are “particularly vulnerable” to the effects of climate change – a historic demand of these nations, which are threatened by global warming to which they have made little contribution themselves. The proposal, which still has many details to be outlined, supports the so called “mosaic solution” demanded by the EU negotiating bloc. Together with other countries, they advocated the use of new financial instruments, including private funding, to help cover damages after extreme events related to the climate crisis, in addition to creating a new fund within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (November 20)

United Kingdom: Government denies seeking to strengthen ties with the EU

London (AFP) – On Sunday, the British government denied press reports that London was seeking closer ties with Brussels, three years after leaving the European Union.

According to the Sunday Times, “senior government figures are planning to put Britain on the path towards a Swiss-style relationship with the European Union.”

An initiative that would be “intended to forge closer economic ties” with the European Union, according to the newspaper.

However, a government spokesman quoted by the British news agency PA called the article “categorically untrue.”

“This government is focused on using our Brexit freedoms to create opportunities that drive growth and strengthen our economy,” the source added.

“Brexit means we will never again have to accept a relationship with Europe that would see a return to freedom of movement, unnecessary payments to the European Union or jeopardise the full benefit of trade deals we are now able to strike around the world,” clarified the spokesperson. (November 20)

Borrell calls an emergency meeting with leaders of Serbia and Kosovo over license plate crisis

Brussels (ANSA) – The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has called an emergency meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti. The head of European diplomacy, assisted by the special envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, will hold bilateral talks with the two leaders before a joint face-to-face meeting.

The objective of the meeting is to reach an agreement that will avert a new escalation of the so-called license plate crisis, which worsened at the beginning of the month with the mass resignation of ethnic Serb Kosovars from the country’s institutions. “We need de-escalation of the situation, stop going from permanent crisis management & start advancing on normalisation of relations [between Kosovo and Serbia] instead,” Borrell wrote in a tweet ahead of the meeting.

The bone of contention is the Pristina legislation that introduces the obligation to re-register cars carrying Serbian license plates and to replace these plates with Kosovan ones. The legislation provides for a roadmap for its implementation, which came into force on November 1. So far, car owners who did not comply have received verbal warnings. However, starting on November 21, a fine of 150 euros will be imposed.

Serbians oppose the plan and ask for compliance with the Brussels accords by Kosovan authorities, particularly with regard to the establishment of an association of Serb-majority municipalities. Kosovo’s government, on the other hand, insists on the concept of reciprocity and stresses that the creation of a single-ethnic entity goes against constitutional legislation. (November 20)

Austrian minister’s Schengen opposition worries Croatia, Nehammer in Zagreb on Wednesday

Vienna (HINA) – On Saturday, the office of Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer (People’s Party of Austria/ÖVP) declined to comment on a statement by Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP), in which he opposed the expansion of the Schengen area to include Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.

“An extension of a system that in itself does not work is doomed to fail. That is why, from the present perspective, my position as the Minister of the Interior responsible for security, is a clear ‘no’,” Karner told Austrian public broadcaster ORF with regard to the extension of Schengen. This statement was referred to by the Austrian Interior Ministry on its website.

Minister Karner explained that of the 100,000 illegal migrants recorded in Austria this year, 75,000 passed through one of the European Union countries without being registered by the authorities of those countries.

The ministry said Karner had fought for a meeting of EU interior ministers next week, where migration in the Western Balkans will be the main topic. Another meeting on the same topic should be held in early December.

Karner once again defended keeping border controls with Slovenia and Hungary and said that many EU countries had been carrying out such controls for a long time. HINA’s request to the Austrian Interior Ministry to comment on Minister Karner’s statement has remained unanswered so far.

On Wednesday, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer is scheduled to arrive for a working visit to Croatia. This will be an occasion to clarify Austria’s position regarding Croatia’s accession to Schengen. Nehammer’s office declined to comment on Karner’s statement. The final decision on the enlargement of the Schengen area will be taken by the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which will meet in Brussels on 8 and 9 December. The Czech Presidency prepared two draft decisions, one for Croatia and one for Bulgaria and Romania. (November 19)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Wednesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.