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Ratas: Europe needs to act quicker than before in order to reduce the effect of climate change

16. October 2020 - 13:31

Brussels, 16 October 2020 – On the first day of the meeting of the European Council, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas discussed increasing the climate ambition of the European Union by 2030 with his counterparts – this increase is necessary for acting more quickly to avoid overheating of the planet.  Ratas expressed hope that the Council will come to an agreement regarding the new goal in the meeting that will be held in December.

According to Prime Minister Ratas, Estonia supports increasing the EU goal to 55 per cent of the 1990 level, and he himself has also set a more ambitious goal for 2030 already – decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent. “We are working hard to achieve this. Primarily, this means a significant change for our energy sector, which largely depends on oil shale even today,” said Prime Minister Ratas. 76 per cent of Estonian greenhouse gases originates from the energy and manufacturing industries.

“Negotiations and looking for solutions on how to achieve the 55 per cent goal across the EU are still to come. We must certainly consider the particularities of countries and the current dependency on fossil fuels,” said Ratas, emphasising that the transition must be fair and feasible for everyone.

According to the Prime Minister, setting new climate goals means a significant technological revolution in the current energy production and transport sector for the economy. “More than before, we must adopt renewable energy sources and clean fuels – the development and implementation of this also requires the support of the EU. We must also take into account that changes take time,” said Ratas. The Prime Minister added that in the region of Estonia and the Baltic Sea, the adoption of marine wind farms and hydrogen has the highest potential.

Yesterday, the Council also discussed talks on future relations with the United Kingdom. The leaders of Member States considered it important to continue talks to reach an agreement, and called on the United Kingdom to take the steps necessary for this. The Chief Negotiator of the EU Michel Barnier told the leaders of Member States about the current progress of talks and the plan to continue negotiations.

According to Ratas, the 27 EU Member States show solidarity in the talks and he expressed support for Barnier’s activities. “Despite the negotiations so far, several issues have still found no answer. There is little time left and we must put this to use to the largest extent,” said the Prime Minister.

Ratas noted that Estonia wishes for a close relationship and the continuance of a partnership with the United Kingdom, considering cooperation in free trade, defence, foreign and security policy, as well as the free movement of people, to be very important.

The United Kingdom withdrew from the EU on the 31st of January this year. A transitional period is in effect until the end of the year; during this time, it is necessary to come to an agreement on future relations.


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