On 30 September 2016, the Council agreed to speed up the process of ratification of the Paris Agreement. This agreement sets the framework for global action on climate change.
The Council decided to go ahead with ratification at EU level. Member states will ratify either together with the EU if they have completed their national procedures, or as soon as possible thereafter.
To open the way for EU ratification, ministers endorsed a Council decision on EU conclusion of the agreement and asked the European Parliament for its consent.
Once the European Parliament gives its green light, the decision on conclusion will be formally adopted by the Council. The EU will then be able to ratify the agreement.
The Slovak Minister for the Environment and president of the Council, László Sólymos said: "Today is an important day not only for our action on climate but also for unity we have demonstrated. This means that EU and its member states will add their weight to trigger the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Europe has shown leadership in Paris and will participate in its implementation in Marrakesh. Action for climate remains essential for livelihood of our planet and future generations".
Member states' ratification
The Paris Agreement is a mixed agreement, which means that some of the issues it covers are the responsibility of the EU and others of member states. It therefore has to be ratified by both the EU and all 28 member states.
So far France, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia have completed their national ratification procedures and several others are very close to doing so.
Paris Agreement: entry into force
The agreement will enter into force 30 days after the ratification by at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. So far 61 countries have ratified, accounting for 47.79% of global emissions.
If the threshold is met by 7 October 2016, the agreement will enter into force in time for the beginning of Marrakesh UN climate change conference (COP22) on 7 November 2016. The first meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) could therefore be convened during the conference. By ratifying the EU secures its full participation at this meeting.