Climate neutrality attainment pace must be diversified - PM

Upon arrival in Brussels, Morawiecki spoke with new EC head Ursula von der Leyen (pictured), EP President David Sassoli, Polish-born EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski and MEPs from the EP's European Conservatives and Reformers faction to which Poland's government party Law and Justice (PiS) belongs. Stephanie Lecocq/PAP/EPA

The pace in which the EU states attain climate neutrality must be differentiated according to the level of their economic development, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday in Brussels before the opening of the EU summit.

Upon arrival in Brussels, Morawiecki spoke with new EC head Ursula von der Leyen, EP President David Sassoli, Polish-born EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski and MEPs from the EP's European Conservatives and Reformers faction to which Poland's government party Law and Justice (PiS) belongs.

Speaking to reporters before the summit, Morawiecki stressed that climate, and especially the attainment of climate neutrality by 2050, will be the two-day conference's leading topic. In this context he observed that Poland, which has a coal-fuelled economy, started CO2 reductions from a different level than most other EU members, which had to be taken into account in setting climate neutrality targets.

Morawiecki reminded that Poland had undertaken much effort to reduce greenhouse emissions over the past years and intended to continue the reductions, but stressed that energy transformation costs were much higher in Poland than in many other countries, which had based their energy systems on other raw materials.

Morawiecki said the Polish government had to take all energy transitions costs into account including the social and economic burdens of such changes.

"We put emphasis on the argument of just energy transition, as well as on the fact that the pace of attaining climate neutrality has to be differentiated according to the economic development levels of individual countries," the Polish PM said.

Asked if Poland intended to accept 2050 as the climate neutrality goal, Morawiecki said the issue was still under debate, and assured that Poland's arguments in the matter will "resound with great strength and clarity." He added that Poland could not agree to an energy transition model that threatened to burden its population.

On Wednesday the EC passed a European Green Deal strategy aimed at attaining climate neutrality by 2050. In June Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia blocked the project. At the time Morawiecki argued that he could not agree to it without knowledge of the estimated costs of the necessary energy changes.

According to EU sources Brussels expects all 28 EU members to back the 2050 climate neutrality target.