| STRASBOURG, France
STRASBOURG, France Climate change will take a
back seat to economic issues at next week's U.S.-European Union
summit, the head of the EU executive said.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the
27-nation bloc would press Washington to curb greenhouse gas
emissions but "deliverable" results at the meeting would be
more likely in areas such as aviation and economic integration.
"To be honest, now we are concentrating more on the global
agenda for the transatlantic marketplace because we saw that
there was more, let's say, potential to achieve results in this
summit there than in the other issue," he told Reuters.
"But this also helps the other part of the agenda, and we
certainly will keep the debate on climate change as one of our
main topics with our American partners," he said late on
Tuesday during a visit to the European Parliament.
Germany, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, had
hoped the meeting could help formulate a global pact on climate
change to be agreed at a summit of Group of Eight nations in
But the two sides have yet to agree on a statement on
climate and energy issues just days before the April 30 meeting
in Washington. Barroso said talks were ongoing.
Barroso acknowledged the United States was investing in
climate change technology and said the EU agreed with
Washington that big developing nations such as China and India
should be involved in a pact to extend the Kyoto Protocol past
President George W. Bush pulled his country out of Kyoto in
2001, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy and unfairly
excluded developing nations. He has called on Americans to
reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in the next decade.
Barroso said economic issues on the EU-U.S. summit agenda
would help the climate change cause by touching on common
standards for biofuels and renewable energy sources in addition
to reducing regulation in a host of other sectors.
The two sides will also sign an "open skies" aviation
agreement, which will allow EU carriers to fly to any U.S. city
and vice versa.
Barroso said he was pleased with the pact but repeated the
EU position that a second-phase agreement must allow EU
investors to exert more control over U.S. carriers.
Current U.S. law limits foreign control over U.S. airlines
to 25 percent voting rights.
"I think as a first step I'm very happy with it, but I
think we should push for more, let's say, integration," he
"There are still some obstacles to European capital coming
to the American companies and, while understanding fully some
concerns of security of the United States, I believe that
...the integration of our economies should be pushed on both
Bush, Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will take
part in Monday's summit.