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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Energy Commissioner Oetinger to EuroFora: Carbon Tax at EU borders = RES stimulant? (June Summit)

EU Energy Commissioner Oetinger to EuroFora: Carbon Tax at EU borders = RES stimulant? (June Summit)

Written by ACM
Saturday, 17 April 2010
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An anti-Carbon, CO2-based Financial Adjustment at EU's External Borders against Environmental Dumping by Foreign Countries who don't respect Climate protection rules as EU Companies, could act as an incitment to adopt "clean" Renewable Energy sources (RES), where EU could help by Technology transferts, EU Commissioner on Energy, Gunter Oettinger from Germany, agreed with "EuroFora", while a related Carbon Tax Debate was growing also with French EU Minister Lellouch's statements, after President Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's Letter to EU Commission's Head, Barroso, in view of EU's forthcoming Summit in Brussels on June.


 - "Eurofora" asked Oettinger if he finds that "a good Incitment to advance towards "Clean", Renewable Energy Technologies", "could be ..the idea to study a Financial Adjustment in the External Borders of the EU, against CO2 Pollution" by Foreign Countries, that EU could help by Technology Transferts : "Issues for June's EU Summit on which French President Sarkozy with German Chancelor Merkel have spoken several times, recently also with Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi".


- "I think, Yes !", the competent EU Commissioner on Energy replied to "EuroFora"s question positively.


- "There are some Details, that we (EU) have to Discuss", Oettinger advised, apparently open to Debate, without excluding any possibility for the moment.


- "Not all is decided" yet, "but..." it will go on, he said on the anti-Carbon Dumping Financial Adjustment at EU Borders, carefuly but optimistically.


CO2-"clean" Technology Transferts by the EU, mainly to Developing Countries, are also expected by the EU  according to UNO Heads of State/Government December 2009 Copenhagen Summit's Agreement, where they are among the more advanced points, as  EU Commissioner on Climate, Connie Hedegaard anounced in her 1st Press Conference, last March 2010 in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, (See "EuroFora"'s publication on some from Hedegaard's replies to our Questions).

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    - At least, meanwhile, "Noone inside "EU Commission shouldn't shoot down a fundamental idea even before it's discussed, and while EU Commission is expected to present on (EU Heads of State/Government's Summit) in June a Report on a Carbon Tax at (EU) Borders",  as French Minister for EU Affairs, Pierre Lellouch, said to Journalists in Strasbourg, including "EuroFora", after he was invited to react to Press Reports about a controversial reluctance attributed to EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.


    - "We (EU) face a major Global Competition, with other Poles (of development), and if the same Rules on Environment are not respected by all, we (EU) are going to Import Pollution and export Jobs !  It's not what we want : We want a Fair System", he denounced.


    - Moreover, "a Carbon Tax at the Borders already exists in U.S. Legislation,(where) the U.S. House of Representatives has already voted a text on this issue, and the American Senate is due to propose a Bill this week. Our wish simply is that the European and American Laws are put in parallel, and influence other Economic Poles. This is reasonable", Lellouch observed.


    - "So, when I saw (in some Press reports) that a Commissioner in charge of (Climate) would have anounced, urbi e orbi, that the idea was droped, even before it had been studied (by the EU's collective bodies), I say "No. This isn't right !", he concluded.


    "EuroFora" had already raised, recently, with EU Commissioner on Climate, Connie Hedegaard, the topical question if her "International Efforts ... before Bonn('s June 2010 UNO meetings) and in view of Cancun (UNO December 2010 Summit)" to exert "increasing Pressure to make it difficult for those (3rd Countries) who might not agree, ..in Mexico", as she had anounced, in the context of "an International Campaign, ...all over the World", at her 1st Press Conference, in EU Parliament's Plernary in Strasbourg last March, might be facilitated by "Proposals, (already made before Copenhagen, but even more important afterwards, in order to have some Legally Binding effects), ...to try to convince other Countries, ..by raising  ..a "Financial Adjustment" at EU's Borders,  "if there is .."Enviromental Dumping" in External Economic Relations" by disregard of Climate protection rules.


    The main thrust of Hedegaard's reply to "EuroFora"s question on March was not to exclude a CO2 Financial Adjustment at EU Borders in Future, but to "question" if it was "the right Time", or not, as long as there were still hopes, then, to include more big polluting countries in UNCCC's efforts to reach an agreement at December 2010's Summit in Mexico.  Something which, afterwards, reportedly appeared to be rather impossible, as UNO's Officials warned.  But, meanwhile, Global Warming was reportedly continuing f.ex. by melting Poles' ice, while it was unclear what could be really expected by those who preferred to wait until a non-specified Time limit... (See relevant "EuroFora"'s NewsReport : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/fromcopenhagentomexico.html )

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    Meanwhile, in a joint Letter by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy  to EU Commission's President Jose Barroso, the two leaders stress that "it would be Unacceptable for the ..ambitious efforts that we agreed in the EU for the reduction of WarmHouse effect Gas emissions, as it was decided at the EU (Heads of State/Government) Summit of December 2008, to be compromised by CO2 leaks resulting from the absence or the insufficiency of certain 3rd Countries' actions".


    - Therefore, "it seems necessary for the (forthcoming EU) Commission's Report to fix, without "a priori", the Conditions in which could be established an Adjustment Mechanism at EU's Borders", they underline.


    - "This Mechanism" could "incite 3rd Countries to adopt Measures to reduce their (Gas) emissions", because "everyone would know that, if he refuses to undertake sufficient commitments, .. his products would face a (Financial) Compensation equivalent to EU's scheduled efforts. It we didn't (adopt such a Mechanism), this would be as if one created a strange incitment to never undertake such commitments", the 2 leaders observe, (according also to the question raised by "EuroFora" to Hedegaard on early March : See supra).


     - "Therefore, this is an indispensable tool, that the EU must be able to use if we want to preserve the integrity of our Environmental efforts, while also ensuring the commitment of our main Partners", they conclude. "Fair Trade meets here the struggle against Climate Change".


    - "In the U.S.A., similar measures were introduced in Bills currently under examination", while "available Studies, as a joint Report prepared by WTO and UNPE Secretariats on June 2010, show that it can be possible to meet the necessary condition" for "any such Adjustment Mechanism at the Borders to be fully Compatible with WTO Rules".


    Reminding Barroso's "confirmation, at the last" (March 2010) EU Summit, that EU "Commission will present, next June, a Report to evaluate if some Industrial sectors are exposed to an important risk of Carbon leaks, together with appropriate Proposals",  the Franco-Italian Leaders' letter stresses that its very "important for the Report that the Commission will present on June, in particular on the Adjustment Mechanism at EU's Borders,... to usefuly contribute to EU Heads of State/Government Summit's work on the Means to advance in our action in favor of the struggle against Climate Change.

***

    ( See also other, more extensive Statements by EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger, to "EuroFora", on other topical issues, in another NewsReport).

***

 

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(Opinion)

Paris - Bruxelles - Strasbourg, 2 septembre 2008

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Le spectaculaire succès du Président français, Nicolas Sarkozy, (en tête de l'UE jusqu'a décembre), à obtenir de suite un cessez le feu inattendu entre la Russie et la Georgie, immédiatement après sa visite aux Présidents Medvedev et Saakashvili, au pire moment de tensions et heurts violents meurtieurs, qui avaient tué plusieurs innocents et provoqué le deplacement forcé de réfugiés par milliers, lui donne incontestablement une stature vraiment européenne :

A ses liens personnels bien connus avec l'Hongrie, la Grece, l'Italie ou l'Espagne, en sus de son amitié avec la chancelière allemande Merkel, son souhait d'essayer d'attirer l'Angleterre au jeu européen, etc, s'y ajoute, maintenant, une réussite, fragile certes, mais importante, au combat pour la Paix dans la "grande" Europe du général De Gaulle, "jusqu'a l'Oural", qui inclut naturellement la Géorgie, l'Arménie et d'autres pays, et ne peut exister qu'avec rapports de confiance et partenartiat stratégique avec la Russie.

Apres avoir réussi à debloquer la situation au Liban, (pays avec liens culturels historiques en Europe), lors du Sommet pour la Méditerranée à Paris, juillet dernier, (comme atteste maintenant le prémier accord d'echange d'Ambassadeurs avec la Syrie), Sarkozy activa maintenant une présidence française de l'EU bien entreprenante, à l'autre bout de l'Europe, à Moscou, où, contrairement à Napoléon, il a été reçu avec soulagement par le nouveau président russe, ami de l'experimenté Vladimir Poutine.

Cet homme politique rélativement nouveau au plan politique européen, avec une vision souvent critique ou même critiquée, à tort ou a raison, mais ambitieuse et concrete a la fois, qui aime s'adresser aux "Européens", comme il dit, n'est-il pas bien placé pour stimuler le fameux débat sur l' "Identité de l' Europe", qu'il a proposé au Parlement Européen récemment à Strasbourg, moins d'un an avant les Elections européennes de 2009 ?

En 2007, il a réussi à faire monter spectaculairement la participation citoyenne aux élections présidentielles en France, obtenant des récords historiques :

N'est-ce pas, justement ce que l' Europe a bésoin, apres 2 abstentions majoritaires sans précedent aux Elections de 1999 et 2004, et 3 "Non" aux réferenda pour ses institutions en 2005 et 2008, pendant une décennie trouble 1999-2008, (marquée surtout par la demande controversée de la Turquie d'entrer dans l'UE eclipsant les avancées de la Monnaie unique et de la liberté de circulation à l'espace Shengen, avec consequences mal-ressenties par la majorité des citoyens, bien au-délà des clivages du passé), qui a failli stopper l'integration européenne ?

Et cela, au moment même ou une globalisation galopante met l'Europe devant un choix crucial entre saut qualitatif en avant, apte à valoriser une occasion historique exceptionelle à se développer résolument, après les vaines destructions, querelles et tensions des guerres "chaudes" ou "froides" qui lui ont couté son rang dans le Monde, ou réculer définitivement en décadence...

Alors, que certains de nos amis à la Commission en Bruxelles, lui laissent au moins un peu d'espace de mouvement, et qu'ils l'aident à tenter d'insufler de l' oxygène frais et vivifiant aux rapports entre les citoyens et une Europe qui a manifestement bésoin et mérite de retrouver d'urgence un nouveau dynamisme populaire, avec un souci de réalisme mais aussi une vision passionante pour son avenir !

Après tout, les Etats Unis d' Amérique ne se sont pas faits à coups de bureaucratie, nécessaire et utile, mais manifestement insuffisante : Sans l'impulsion d'hommes politiques originaux, d'intellectuels vraiment engagés, et, surtout, sans l'enorme énergie émanant de la conscience d'enjeux à la fois pratiques et grandioses, bien resentis par des millions de citoyens, stimulant leur adhésion active comme pioniers d'un nouveau avenir commun à construire, ils seraient encore une ex-colonie périphérique, affaiblie par stériles divisions, passif et impuissant spectateur des convulsions tragiques d'un Monde à la dérive...

Que les vrais "européens" ré-lisent au moins les fameux discours historiques sur l' Europe d'un Sarkozy bien inspiré à Strasbourg, aussi bien avant qu'après avoir gagné les élections françaises, le 21 février et le 2 juillet 2007, après son 1er sommet des Bruxelles, qui a adopté le nouveau Traité de l'UE en conclusion de la presidence allémande : Bonnes lectures pour cet été 2008, afin de préparer l' avenir qui s'ouvrira (ou fermera) à partir des élections européennes de 2009.

Peut-etre revelera-t-il plus, en ce sens, lors de ses 2 discours-debats prochains avec les eurodeputés, prévus lors des sessions plenières du Parlement Européen a Strasbourg en octobre et décembre 2008... 

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Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had already unveiled President Sarkozy's intentions, during a particularly "hot" Press Conference in Paris, where he faced some's insistance for "sanctions", with a call for "a common EU stance". In the meanwhile, he was consulting "all these days" most of his EU, Russia and Georgia counterparts, (as Sarkozy's Spokesman, P-J. Henin confirmed to "EuroFora"). This allowed him to obtained the desired result, as EU Chairman, at a short, exceptional EU Summit in Brussels, afterwards.

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But, Sarkozy's No 1 official, Presidential palace's Secretary General Claude Gueant, active at Elysee during the 2008 Ambassadors' Conference, (together with his Top Diplomat, the experienced David Levitte), is well known for having an overall view : A link with 2009 EU Elections at the horizon ?

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