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Statement by executive vice-president Frans Timmermans on behalf of the European Union at the Opening Plenary of the Ministerial Segment of COP25

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 10 december 2019.

Dear President, dear Colleagues,

Four years ago, we celebrated the landmark Paris Agreement, a breakthrough in multilateralism and the global fight against climate change.

Now the urgency is upon us and 2020 will test our collective ability to deliver.

  • At the risk of stating the obvious, I will underline one point: the Paris Agreement in itself won't change the trend. The real challenge is in implementing the vision and the spirit of this Agreement.
  • Governments all around the world are responsible for putting in place the necessary policies and measures, creating financial mechanisms and incentive structures to accelerate the global transition to a more sustainable, low emissions economy and providing their citizens with a safe future.

Nor is this COP, whatever its outcome, the end of the story.

By COP26 in Glasgow we will all need to communicate or update our NDCs and submit our Long-Term Strategies, in line with the Paris objectives. This is what we collectively agreed in Paris.

The European Union is hard at work to do this:

  • In the EU, ambitious policies and measures have enabled us to effectively decouple economic growth from the growth of emissions.
  • We have put in place legislation to deliver, and even exceed, our current NDC. But we want to go further.
  • Tomorrow, the European Commission will present the European Green Deal. We want to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050, and do so in a way that also makes our climate strategy Europe's new growth strategy.
  • The vast majority of EU leaders already support this objective and we expect to submit our long-term strategy to the UNFCCC in early 2020.
  • It is clear that this transition will bring significant challenges, but first and foremost it is an opportunity to create a better future.
  • We know we can make it a success, and we hope our example will pave the way for others.
  • We are also stepping up our outreach and cooperation with all partners.
  • The EU continues to be the world's biggest climate finance donor, providing over 40% of the world's public finance - EUR 21.7 billion in 2018.
  • We must make sure that the most vulnerable are supported in their efforts, we have just heard how difficult their plight is - that they are empowered and have the capacity to deal with the changes and find new and sustainable ways forward.
  • We cannot afford to leave anyone behind. This applies both at the EU level as well as globally!

The European Union looks forward to a successful outcome at COP 25. That would represent another important stepping stone to our collective achievement of the goals that we have set for ourselves in Paris.

Thank you.

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