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EU On Track For Climate Change Talks, Say Finance Ministers

May 3, 2017

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European finance ministers confirmed the EU mandate for the upcoming Marrakesh conference Tuesday, agreeing to provide public finance to tackle the causes and impacts of climate change.

At the Marrakesh UN Convention on Climate Change, countries are expected to agree a roadmap for how to meet the $100 billion climate finance target by 2020.

The finance Council conclusions focus on the financing aspects of climate change follow the Environment Council conclusions on 30 September, which covered the more general aspects.

For the EU presidency, Slovak's finance minister Peter Kazimir said: "We have confirmed that the EU is committed to providing its share of the developed countries' goal to jointly mobilise 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 and through to 2025 for mitigation and adaptation, from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels."

However, while the ministers made clear the EU's commitment to contributing its "fair share" and providing public money to fight climate change, there was little in the way of detail as to how they intend to do this, and how support for international climate action will be scaled up. The Commission is tasked with providing "an overview on climate finance from the EU and its Member States for 2015 for the Council to endorse this contribution prior to the UNFCCC COP22".

Environment organisations are not too impressed. The Climate Action Network (CAN) criticised the reticence of finance ministers "to commit predictable and adequate support for climate action".

"EU member states continue to sidestep the crucial question of how they will scale up support for adaptation and loss and damage," said CAN's Maeve McLynn.

Also at the meeting, ministers also adopted conclusions in response to a Commission communication on tax transparency following the April 2016 Panama Papers revelations. The conclusions highlight the continued need to prevent the large-scale concealment of funds, which hinders efforts to clamp down on tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing.

In its July 2016 communication, the Commission recommended a coordinated approach to preventing tax abuse, at both EU and international levels. Whilst progress has been made at EU level, loopholes remain and further action is envisaged.

The Council also approved a taxation agreement with Monaco, giving tax administrations improved cross-border access to information on the financial accounts of each other's residents.

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