BRUSSELS Seven eastern European Union countries led by Hungary are calling for an overhaul of the bloc's efforts to curb carbon dioxide so as to take account of their historical reductions before they joined the EU.
The 27-member bloc has set ambitious targets to cut CO2 emissions by one fifth by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
That overall target has been split between countries according to their emissions and economic strength in the baseline year of 2005, the first year the EU had verified data for all its members.
However, CO2 emissions dropped significantly in eastern Europe between 1990 and 2005 due to economic weakness after the collapse of communism -- and it is this reduction in CO2 that the seven want taken into account.
"By 2005 a significant part of the 20 percent target -- namely 7.9 percent -- has already been realized," said a proposal drafted by Hungary ahead of next week's meeting of environment ministers in Luxembourg.
"In the opinion of Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia these early reduction efforts should be duly recognized and rewarded in the effort sharing and/or ETS proposal," added the proposal, obtained by Reuters.
A government source for one of the seven countries emphasized that negotiations were still under way with other member states, with the aim of reaching an agreement well before the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009.
(Reporting by Pete Harrison; Editing by Dale Hudson)