These 11 EU countries want climate to be at the heart of the bloc’s foreign policy

Eleven European Union countries formed a new group on Monday to bolster the bloc’s climate diplomacy and put it at the heart of EU foreign and security policy.

The founding meeting of this new so-called “Group of Friends” under the leadership of Germany and Denmark took place in Luxembourg before a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Ministers from Finland, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden also attended.

“We had a meeting of those who, in their capacity as foreign ministers, are making it clear once again that the climate crisis is our greatest security threat of this century,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters.

“We see in a brutal way that the climate crisis is increasingly becoming a security crisis and that every measure taken to protect the climate is also a contribution to world peace and international security.

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“The more renewable energies we expand worldwide, the more we can tackle the climate crisis as a conflict and thus also make a contribution to the climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh in November this year,” she added.

In an opinionthe group said it will focus on “strengthening the link between climate and security within the EU’s foreign policy” and accelerating the global energy transition and fossil fuel phase-out to meet commitments made under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement .

They described the climate crisis as “an existential threat to humanity, world peace and security” and said that “global climate protection is still not reaching the 1.5 degrees and the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. “

For Olivia Lazard, Fellow at Carnegie Europe, this new group is “a good move, a long-awaited move.”

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“The fact that they are now, to some extent, bringing climate action under the umbrella of foreign and defense policy is really important,” she told Euronews.

Nevertheless, the initiative is “still quite limited in terms of scope”.

Participating member states want the EU, through its flagship Green Deal regulation, to take the lead on mitigation action and strengthen solidarity with vulnerable countries around the world.

They also said the bloc of 27 countries must strengthen alliances with like-minded partners ahead of COP27, which takes place in November in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

One of the limitations of the initiative, Lazard said, is that this new group appears to be looking at climate change through the prism of the same old foreign and security policy rulebook, turning on its head the definition of threats and risks facing the EU .

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“I think this will show that the EU’s foreign and defense policy framework is no longer fit for purpose in a climate-broken world,” she said.

“The way the world is changing through climate change and through competition for natural resources, but also models of power and models of transition will show very quickly that we need to think very hard about mutually reinforcing links between internal regional politics – the The way the Green Deal was designed – and the way we work with international partners.

“We really need to rethink the concept of security in a very fundamental and very complex way,” she said.

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