Europe’s FUTURE? Macron and Merkel speak in ‘perfect opportunity’ to show bloc leadership

COP23 climate conference in Bonn is the chance for the French and German leaders to show they can ‘lead Europe,’ says a leading charity.

The pair were pictured ahead of today’s speeches 

Representatives from nearly 200 countries kicked off talks last week to work on a rule book for the 2015 Paris climate deal and ramp up their efforts on global warming before 2020.

The UN-led climate change conference is the ‘perfect opportunity’ for France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel to show the rest of the world that they are the ‘de facto’ leaders of the European Union, and to position themselves as the bloc’s climate champions, a spokesperson for the international charity Oxfam said on Wednesday.

Armelle Le Comte, a climate and energy campaigner for Oxfam France, said: “The climate change summit in Bonn is a golden opportunity for both Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron, because it is their chance to shine and to show the rest of the world that the renewed Franco-German partnership is both dynamic and ambitious, especially when it comes to tackling climate change.

“They both need to show their counterparts that they are equally determined to tackle the climate change threat head on in 2018, and that France and Germany can lead the EU’s clean energy transition.”

Representatives from nearly 200 countries convened in Bonn, Germany, last week in a bid to bolster the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which suffered a massive blow after Donald Trump announced in June that he was pulling the US – the world’s second-biggest polluter – out of the landmark deal.

The representatives, including the French president and the German chancellor, will also work on a detailed rule book for the historic climate deal, including details of how to report and check all participating nations’ greenhouse gas emissions, and how to encourage world leaders to step up their Paris climate pledges by 2020.

The Paris climate deal seeks to limit a rise in temperatures to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, ideally to 1.5.

In addition to Mrs Le Comte’s push for climate change action, a coalition of 20 French and German NGOs have called for a stronger Franco-German partnership to push for a “sustainable zero-carbon transition at the heart of a renewed European Union”.