EU climate advisory body sets ambitious new emissions reduction goal

Brussels (dpa) – An independent body advising the European Union on climate change on Thursday recommended the introduction of an ambitious climate target for 2040.

The European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, which was established by the European Climate Law in 2021, called for the bloc to reduce emissions by 90% to 95% by 2040, compared to 1990 levels.

This reduction is crucial to mitigating climate risks and achieving a sustainable future, the board said as it launched a new report in Strasbourg on Thursday.

“The advisory board’s recommendations underscore the need for bold and transformative actions to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 in a way that is both fair and feasible,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist who chairs the board.

“Establishing a policy framework that incentivises emissions reductions while also incentivising rapid scale-up of carbon removal is a key challenge for policymakers in the months to come,” he added.

The EU has committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050. To achieve this, emissions are to be reduced by at least 55% below 1990 levels as early as 2030.

If that goal can be reached, the researchers’ recommended target of 2040 could also be achieved, the board said.

To do that, it said, it was important to use much more wind and solar energy, and to expand the use of fuels such as hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Online advertising: Brussels targets Google for abuse of dominant position

Brussels (AFP) – Already being sued in the United States for its “monopoly” in the online advertising market, Google is now under threat from Brussels, which is also considering forcing it to divest activities in this lucrative sector.

On Wednesday, the European Commission took the “preliminary view” that Google had “abused its dominant position” in display advertising technologies.

Google could face a colossal new fine, in addition to a forced break-up. The company has already been fined a total of €8 billion in the European Union for various anti-competitive practices.

After investigation, “we found that Google may have abused its dominant position by favouring its own ad tech services,” European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager told the press.

Google’s Vice President for Global Ads, Dan Taylor, replied in a press release: “We do not agree with the European Commission’s view and will respond accordingly.”  (14 June 2023)

Belgian prime minister De Croo: stripping Hungary of EU presidency ‘not a good idea’

Brussels (Belga) – Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is not in favour of stripping Hungary of its European Union presidency. He fears such a decision would be counterproductive, even putting the country in a “privileged position.”

Belgium is to take over the Council presidency for the first half of 2024 and Hungary is due to follow in the second half. Opposition to Hungary’s presidency has emerged in the European Parliament. In a resolution, MEPs recently denounced the total lack of respect for the rule of law shown by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government. The parliament also said it had no confidence in the Hungarian presidency and asked member states to find a “solution” to it.

Speaking in the Belgian parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister De Croo said he shared the European Parliament’s concerns about the state of the rule of law in Hungary. “Our country has always been clear about this from the government’s perspective,” he said.

But depriving Budapest of the presidency “is absolutely not a good idea,” De Croo continued. “In my view, it would be counterproductive. The presidency is not only a privilege, but it is also a duty. It obliges a member state to show colours, play its role as president and be a mediator,” the prime minister said. Depriving it of that duty “would even put Hungary in a privileged position.”

Sofia reacts sharply to Russian ambassador’s statements on Ukraine

Sofia (BTA) – The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has objected to statements made by the Russian ambassador in Sofia, Eleonora Mitrofanova, on Facebook. Mitrofanova said that Bulgaria was being “drawn into the conflict in Ukraine by supplying the Kyiv regime with ammunition or by possibly sending a national contingent to the war zone.”

Attempts at disinformation regarding Bulgaria’s support for Ukraine were unacceptable, the ministry said in a statement.

The Republic of Bulgaria strongly condemned the unprecedented and unprovoked military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and was contributing to international efforts to support the country, the statement added.

“We are consistent in our position of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and in our unconditional support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country within its internationally recognised borders, including territorial waters,” the statement added. “Any attempts at propaganda and disinformation that compromise democratic values are unacceptable.”

Bulgarian Minister of Defence Todor Tagarev said it was necessary to continue providing assistance to Ukraine. He ruled out sending Bulgarian military forces the to the territory of Ukraine. (June 13)

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