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Time to break down “firewall” between developing and developed world, say MEPs


The issue of differentiating between so-called “developed” and “developing” countries is the key to a Paris agreement and delegations should have the courage to move away from the 1992 “firewall” which is impeding progress, said the European Parliament delegation to COP21 on Friday. The Paris agreement would need Parliament’s consent to be ratified by the European Union.

“The distinction between “developed” and “developing” countries, as set out in the 1992 Kyoto Protocol, is outdated”, said European Parliament delegation chairman Giovanni La Via (EPP, Italy), adding “And it will be even more so in 2020, when the Paris agreement will come into force”. Also, “We need to enlarge the donor base in the next “indaba” and break down this wall, which only benefits some of the biggest polluters, who would contribute to climate finance voluntarily and are therefore waived from any solidarity towards the poorest and most exposed countries” he continued, adding that “transparency should not be required only of donors, but to those who receive money”.

Sean Kelly, (EPP, IE), welcomed discussions on how richer countries can help poorer ones adapt to Climate Change and meet mitigation targets.

"It is encouraging to see constructive discussion taking place on this notoriously tricky issue. In 2009, wealthy countries pledged to financially support developing countries in tackling Climate Change. These countries should certainly agree to the provision of strong financial assistance in this regard and the next few days will be crucial in determining what this assistance looks like.

"I believe that a common ground will be reached and a deal that is acceptable to all will be finalised before the week is out - we're nearly there", he added.

“1.5 degrees? fair enough”

“The more ambitious the mitigation target, the better” said delegation vice-chair Matthias Groote (S&D, Germany). “Going for 1.5 degrees? Fair enough. We have, in Europe, the necessary tools for this ambition. But the rest of the text will have to reflect this goal”, he said. “Wording on ‘bindingness’ and carbon markets should be reinforced in the text, and we cannot afford to give a free ride to the international aviation and shipping sectors”, he added.

China, a developing nation: “it makes no sense”

“Broadly, we are back to where we were, which is that the developed countries should contribute and the developing countries should receive” said lead MEP on the EU carbon market reform Ian Duncan (ECR, United Kingdom). “The problem is that in that category, China is a developing nation. You can’t have the second largest economy in the world still being categorised as a developing nation. It makes no sense. But that is what the agreement currently reads” he said.

Loss and damage

“The issue of “loss and damage” needs to be addressed, but not in a punitive way” said COP21 rapporteur Gilles Pargneaux (S&D, France). “It is crucial that the most vulnerable countries, and those which already suffer from climate change, are entitled to support from the main polluters – all of them. But this should be done in a spirit of solidarity, and not of vindictiveness”, he added.

European Parliament resolution: towards a new international climate agreement in Paris
European Parliament at COP21
Audiovisual material for professionals
European Parliament delegation press dossier: English version
Delegation members profiles