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Sarkozy pushes for climate consensus at Gdansk summit

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Latest update : 2008-12-06

French President Nicolas Sarkozy failed to reach a consensus on Saturday on climate change and energy policies during an EU summit in in Gdansk, Poland, but remained positive about a breakthrough soon.

REUTERS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy failed to end deadlock with ex-communist European Union states on an EU climate package on Saturday but predicted a deal would be reached by a Dec. 11-12 summit.

 

"Things are moving in a good way ... I am convinced we will arrive at a positive conclusion," Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said after meeting Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and eight other east European leaders.

 

Tusk, whose country relies on high-polluting coal for more than 90 percent of its electricity, has threatened to veto an EU plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 unless it wins fossil fuel concessions.

 

Poland argues that it needs until 2020 to curb carbon emissions, for example by using more efficient boilers and carbon-scrubbing equipment and possibly building its first nuclear plant.

 

Tusk said Saturday's talks in the Polish port of Gdansk made progress but said: "We are looking for a wise stand for the EU summit. There is still a lot of work ahead of us."

 

Poorer east European states say accepting significant caps on carbon emissions will harm their economies at a time of global financial crisis, preventing them from catching up with wealthy western Europe.

 

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said the financial crisis was hitting eastern EU members harder than the wealthier west.

 

Earlier, addressing delegates in Gdansk on Saturday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Polish pro-democracy icon Lech Walesa winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Tusk called on rich EU nations to show more support for their poorer neighbours.

 

"Solidarity also means taking responsibility for the weaker," Tusk said. Walesa headed the Solidarity trade union which in the 1980s helped topple communism across eastern Europe.

Date created : 2008-12-06

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