Poland wants money for agreeing to CO2 neutrality in 2050 - PM

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 20, 2019. Julien Warnand/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Poland wants a strong compensation package for its industry in exchange for agreeing to commit the European Union to a more ambitious target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the country’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

“Poland is among those countries that must have very concrete compensation packages - we must know what funds we will get for modernization of our industry sectors,” he said. “So that potential changes and potential new commitments, which may appear in the case of EU climate policy, would reflect our stage of economic development and the challenges and risks we face.”

He spoke after Poland led a handful of eastern EU states in blocking a push by France and most others to commit the bloc to net zero emissions by mid-century.

“That is why, together with the Visegrad Group as well as Estonia, we managed to remove from the EU Council conclusions the 2050 date, which in practical terms means that we did not accept today new, more ambitious goals for fighting climate change and we secured in that way the interests of Polish entrepreneurs and Polish citizens who would have faced the risk of additional taxation, additional costs.”

“We could not agree to that,” Morawiecki said. “We need concrete things on the table -- what compensation mechanisms, what additional money could be allotted to Poland so that we do not end up in an offside trap.”

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski