Flanders’ Geert Bourgeois has expressed strong disapproval of the will expressed by Prime Minister Charles Michel and other European leaders, to make the EU a “climate neutral society” by 2050. The leaders of Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and Lithuania, launched a joint appeal at Thursday’s European Summit in Sibiu, Romania, for immediate action against global warming. The member states are asking that at least 25% of the next EU budget (2021 – 2027) goes to projects aimed at fighting against climate change.
Given its fundamental importance for the future of Europe, as a challenge and as an opportunity, the fight against climate change needs to be the cornerstone of the European strategic agenda for 2019-2024, the leaders said in their appeal. They called on the EU to respect the target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and proposed to have that goal included on the agenda of the European summit to be held in late June in Brussels.
However, Belgium’s involvement in this bid to ramp up Europe’s climate efforts was rejected by Bourgeois, who also heads the N-VA list for the 26 May European elections. The Flemish leader said that objective was more ambitious than the target agreed on in Belgium.
“It is not for a caretaker administration to commit the next governments with these considerable commitments with heavy consequences, without the least consultation with the most important federated entities,” the outgoing Flemish Minister-President stressed, arguing that the Belgian Prime Minister had no mandate to take up such a position.
Michel responded in ‘De Standaard’ that he had the support of the federal government and parliament, which approved late last year, after the resignation of the N-VA ministers, a resolution calling for stronger climate goals.