These 11 EU countries want climate at the heart of the bloc’s foreign policy

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Eleven European Union countries launched a new group on Monday to bolster the bloc’s climate diplomacy and put it at the heart of EU foreign and security policy.

The inaugural meeting of this new “group of friends” led by Germany and Denmark took place in Luxembourg before a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Ministers from Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden also participated.

“We had a meeting of those who, in their capacity as foreign ministers, are once again making it clear that the climate crisis is our greatest security threat of this century,” the German minister told reporters. of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock.

“We see in a stark way that the climate crisis is increasingly becoming a security crisis and that every climate protection measure is also a contribution to world peace and international security.

“The more we develop renewable energy around the world, the more we can counter the climate crisis as a conflict and thus also make a contribution to the climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh in November this year,” he said. she adds.

In a reportthe group said it would focus on strengthening “the link between climate and security within EU foreign policy”, and on accelerating the global energy transition and phasing out fuels fossil fuels to meet the commitments made under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

They described the climate crisis as “an existential threat to humanity, international peace and security” and said that “global climate action still falls short of reaching 1.5 degrees and the goals of the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “

For Olivia Lazard, fellow at Carnegie Europe, this new group is “a good decision, a long-awaited decision”.

“The fact that they are now framing climate action to some extent under the umbrella of foreign and defense policy is really important,” she told Euronews.

Yet, she said, the initiative “is still quite limited in scope.”

Participating Member States want the EU, through its flagship Green Deal Regulation, to take the lead in mitigation actions and strengthen solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable countries.

They also said the 27-nation bloc needed to strengthen its alliances with like-minded partners ahead of COP27 to be held in November in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

One of the limitations of the initiative, Lazard said, is that this new group seems to see climate change through the prism of the same old foreign and security policy settlement as it upends the very definition of threats and risks facing the EU.

“I think this will demonstrate that the EU’s foreign and defense policy framework is no longer fit for a climate-disrupted world,” she said.

“The way the world evolves under the effect of climate change and under the effect of competition over natural resources but also over power models and transition models, will show very quickly that we have to think very carefully to the kind of mutually reinforcing links between internal regional policy – ​​the way the Green Deal was designed – and the way we engage with international partners.

“We really need to rethink the notion of security in a very fundamental and very multidimensional way,” she said.

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