EU Moves Toward Putting Paris Agreement into Force

EU ministers approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union on Friday. The decision was reached at an extraordinary meeting of the Environment Council in Brussels, which agreed to speed up the process of ratification, and brings the Paris Agreement very close to entering into force.

Once approved by the European Parliament this week, the EU will be able to deposit its ratification instrument before national ratification processes are completed in each Member State.

The Paris Agreement is a mixed agreement, which means that some of the issues it covers are the responsibility of the EU and others of member states. It therefore has to be ratified by both the EU and all 28 member states.

So far France, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia have completed their national ratification procedures and several others are very close to doing so.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “They said Europe is too complicated to agree quickly. They said we had too many hoops to jump through. They said we were all talk. Today’s decision shows what Europe is all about: unity and solidarity as Member States take a European approach, just as we did in Paris. We are reaching a critical period for decisive climate action. And when the going gets tough, Europe gets going.”

So far, 61 countries, accounting for almost 48% of global emissions have ratified the deal. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of global emissions have ratified.

The approval has been forwarded to the European Parliament for its formal consent this week. Once Parliament has consented, the Council can formally adopt the Decision.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today’s decision shows that the European Union delivers on promises made. It demonstrates that the Member States can find common ground when it is clear that acting together, as part of the European Union, their impact is bigger than the mere sum of its parts. I am happy to see that today the Member States decided to make history together and bring closer the entry into force of the first ever universally binding climate change agreement.”