Top leaders of the European Union vowed on Thursday to defend the climate accord made in the climate summit held in Paris in December, 2015. This puts them in direct collision with the new American president Donald Trump and his administration. The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and other big shot EU economies in spite of having long standing ties with Washington have nevertheless swore not to stand back on “existential” threats such as global warming.
They also emphasised on the crying need of keeping the markets open, warning that the protectionism and isolationism symbolised by Trump’s “America First” stance won’t solve global problems. According to the EU Council President Donald Tusk, Europe was now “a reference point”. He stated so after the G20 preparatory meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel, who will host the July 7-8 summit in her birth city of Hamburg, said she “knew that we could not expect discussions to be easy” after Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Deal earlier last month. “The differences are obvious and it would be dishonest to try to cover that up. That I won’t do,” she said. She stressed that Trump’s exit from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord has made Europe “more determined than ever” to make it a success.
Markel got strong support from her European allies for making this decision. Several leaders such as the French President Emmanuel Macron testified their stand on the issue saying, “On climate, we reaffirm clearly our very strong engagement for the Paris accord and our willingness to go forward.” “And for me personally, I hope that the others can be brought back to their senses,” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman are some of the others on the guest list of the G20 Summit. Which means that other pressing issues like the Syrian War, the Ukraine Conflict and the diplomatic shut-out of Qatar is also to be discussed in the meeting.
Germany announced on Thursday that it had turned down Erdogan’s request to make a speech to Ethnic Turks on the side of the G20. This had sparked criticism from Ankara, which turned out to be another headache for the summit’s host country.
On the other hand, China’s President Xi Jinping and Merkel will next Wednesday unveil a pair of pandas lent as a goodwill gesture to Berlin’s zoo, but Merkel also pointed to tensions with the Asian export giant. “Europe must work hard to defend its influence and, above all, to speak with one voice to China,” Merkel said to a local business weekly. “Seen from Beijing, Europe is more like an Asian peninsula. Obviously, we see things differently.”, she said.
Marcon criticised Trump’s Trade Deal by saying, “It’s pointless to isolate a country, Mr Trump expressed himself very clearly and we reacted rapidly that we do not share his vision.”
But he hopes that the EU can persuade the US to take a longer term view on the climate issue.
“It’s very important to voice disagreement sometimes, and to not cede when defending the right position such as in the case of the climate. But at the same time, we should not drop discussions which are … indispensable for global balance.”