President, Honourable Members,

I want to start by congratulating both the Parliament and Council for what I have experienced as one of the most constructive and forward-looking trilogues I have ever had the pleasure to participate in. Rapporteur Jytte Guteland, President Canfin, but also the whole Portuguese team played an essential role to get us across the line, with what I believe is a historic piece of legislation.

This is the law of laws. This is the law of laws, because it will discipline us in the years to come to stay within the boundaries we’ve set, which is a reduction of at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as compared by 1990 and climate neutrality by 2050.

If Parliament votes for this and Council then adopts the regulation, we will be leading the world. Europe will be leading the world. In a way that is not just about words.

It is a goal we have set that is concrete and feasible. Feasible on the basis of the analyses we have made at the Commission, which was supported by both co-legislators. It sets us on a course.

Politics is politics. There will always be, as we have seen with the pandemic, issues that would potentially distract us from this historic responsibility of saving humanity, because that’s what we do with climate policy.

But then we have the law to fall back on. We have the law to fall back on that will remain the framework whatever distractions might occur along the way.

I have to commend Council, that Council was prepared to take on board some of the demands of Parliament that initially were completely unacceptable for too many Member States. Parliament was also prepared to see that some of the red lines of the Council needed to be respected by Parliament.

We live in a day and age of politics, where very often compromises are derailed, seen as a sign of weakness. This compromise is a sign of incredible strength. Because by deciding this, Europe leads the way for the rest of the world.

Having said that, I want to end by saying that this is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. This is at best, the end of the beginning. Because even if we have this Climate Law in place, which I think is a historic decision, the only real measure of our success will be whether we will be able to change the policies.

On all these issues that we will present proposals on, on the 14th of July, all these measures will then also have to be translated into changes. Some of these changes will not be to the liking of certain Member States or some parts of the European Parliament. Others will be. And I call upon co-legislators, in this process that will last for years, to show the same spirit of cooperation and compromise that you’ve shown in deciding on the climate law.

We do not do this for ourselves. We do this for our children and grandchildren. This is our prime responsibility. I want again to thank both co-legislators for having been so constructive. I certainly hope on a positive vote today and then a positive decision in Council. This will allow us to move ahead.

Thank you very much.

 

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Closing remarks

 

Thank you Madam President.

 

I just have a few remarks to make. First of all, the big question is if at least 55% by 2030 enough to get us where we need to be? The answer of the Commission is yes it is. We've done the numbers, we've analysed everything and we believe this will set us on the right trajectory.

 

I believe our analysis is stronger today than it was a year ago, because of the change in the international climate. Many countries have joined our efforts. It was a lonely place a year and a half ago with our Green Deal. But now the US administration is back on track. I spoke to the Chinese envoy, Mr. Xie this morning, China is upping the ante. We have a climate pact with Japan, I will be traveling soon to South Korea to discuss with them the possibilities to enhance.

 

So I say without any reservation: at least 55% by 2030 sets us on a course to climate neutrality by 2050. And we lead the way for the rest of the world. And I'm glad to say that the rest of the world more and more is following. So I would please ask you to have that confidence that it is enough.

 

Now, I respect those who say that it isn't enough, that we should be doing more. I respect that extra ambition. But I don't understand how that can lead to a negative vote on the climate law. I do understand those who have denied and continue to deny, and in my view, completely abandon the citizens they represent by creating the illusion that there is no problem or that we can just bury our heads in the sand and then it will go away. I know those groups in this Parliament and I understand that they vote against.

 

Aber ich habe überhaupt kein Verständnis für ein negatives Votum von den Grünen, ich verstehe es einfach nicht. Wir habe so gut zusammengearbeitet, wir haben so viel zusammen auch geändert in dieser ganze Prozedur. Das scheint mir fast wie ein Verantwortlichkeitsurlaub den sie nehmen. Denn Sie wissen, auch wenn Sie “Nein” sagen, wahrschienlich wird das Parlament überwiegend “Ja” sagen.

Und stellen Sie sich mal vor, wir hätten ein anderes Votum heute, wo es entscheidend ist, ob die Grünen “Ja” oder “Nein” sagen. Stellen Sie sich mal vor, Sie sagen “Nein” und es gibt kein Klimagesezt, was sind dann die Folgen? Sind Sie dazu bereit diese Folgen zu tragen?

Ich sage das mal in ganz deutlicher Sprache weil wir noch so viel zu tun haben in den nächsten Jahren und ich hoffe auf eine konstruktive Haltung auch der Grünen Fraktion. Wir brauchen Sie, wir brauchen Sie an Bord! Und ich will alles dafür tun als Kommission, dass Sie auch an Bord bleiben können.

 

Madam President, I ask for your indulgence, just for one minute

 

Whatever we do on climate with the climate law, which I think is a historic moment, whatever we do will fail if we don't adhere to the fundamental values this European Union was built upon. Equality is a fundamental value, respect for diversity is a fundamental value. Being gay is not a choice, it’s who you are. Being a bigot is a choice, that you should not make. Being gay is not contagious. Hatred is contagious. Being gay is not dangerous to families. Teaching children to hate is dangerous to families. It’s profoundly non-European. And we should stand up for these values. I say this in the place where all Europeans are represented, regardless of their religion, regardless of their race, regardless of their nationality, regardless of the gender, regardless of the sexual orientation or identity. If we have no equality, we will not be saved by a climate law. If we have equality. There's nothing that can stop us.