Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment

Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment (c) European Communities, 2009

The climate conference in Bonn this week has given the EU another opportunity to reiterate its negotiating position leading to Copenhagen and attempt to maintain momentum in the negotiation process.

The EU’s Czech presidency used both its opening address to the Bonn conference and a written statement to restate its views on how a global deal would look. The statements repeated the public position laid out by the EU in January (details here), and called for other developed countries to set out medium-term emissions targets by the middle of this year at the latest.

Having defined a clear and credible position early, the European Union is for now limited to repeating its view at every public opportunity, while awaiting developments in the US and China. Stavros Dimas, the European Commissioner for the environment, told EurActiv last week that he is looking forward to seeing details of the US’s cap-and-trade system to evaluate its potential compatibility with the EU’s. Separately, consulting firm McKinsey released three interviews with three European policy experts last week, asking for their views on the prospects for a deal at Copenhagen. Two of them – Nicholas Stern and Michael Grubb – emphasised the role of the US and China and developing economies, and not one of the trio mentioned Europe.

After much internal wrangling in 2008, then, it appears that 2009 is a year of looking outward for Europe’s climate policy-makers.

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