European Civil Society condemns EU backflip on Climate Accord and trade

Thursday February 21, 2019: Both a European parliamentary trade committee and French President Macron are doing a backflip on earlier decisions that support for the Paris Climate Accord of 2015 is a pre-condition for any new trade agreement. This policy was applied in the recently finalised EU- Japan Free Trade Agreement. But it will not apply in the new trade talks with President Trump which will focus on steel and automobiles.

Support for the Paris Climate Accord is a pre-condition for the current EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement negotiations, but the danger is the Morrison government might seize this opening.

Sixty-two prominent Global and European citizen organisations came out on February 18, 2019, saying: “As civil society groups, we call on the European Commission, national governments and EU parliamentarians to use every political and financial tool at their disposal to speedily and justly end the fossil fuel age now. We must avoid the chaos, droughts and rising tides of 1.5 degrees or more of global warming, and bring about a safer, fairer, and cleaner Europe.

“Thousands of citizens – especially school children – are currently marching in the streets demanding immediate action from decision makers on climate change.

“As a minimum, EU decision makers must keep their word, uphold the Paris Agreement and not mandate new trade negotiations with the USA.”

But next day, February 19, 2019, the EU Parliament’s committee for international trade voted 21 to 17 to drop the requirement about the Paris Accord to enable talks with the USA. This is likely to be endorsed by the full parliament in mid-March.

A French Treasury official supported the move by the European Parliament, saying that President Macron’s demand regarding the Paris Climate Accord did not apply to the ‘limited’ talks with Trump, but only to ‘comprehensive’ agreements.