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newsAhead of G20 Summit and COP26, President von der Leyen sets out EU priorities

The group of 20 largest and most advanced economies (G20) is holding an annual summit on 30-31 October in Rome. The summit will focus on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and fostering a robust economic recovery, while boosting global cooperation on climate action.

Speaking at a press conference on 28 October, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that G20 would commit to the goal of having 70% of the global population fully vaccinated by mid-2022. She stressed the EU's major contribution to this goal, with over 1.2 billion vaccines doses exported to 150 countries and close to 880 million doses delivered to Europeans. “On top of the exports, we will, as the European Union, as Team Europe, donate more than 500 million doses of vaccines until mid-next year”, she added.

Another important part of global vaccination will include increasing manufacturing capacities in the developing world, including through mRNA technology. “Europe is investing more than EUR 1 billion in Africa for exactly this purpose. Our common goal is that we really bring the mRNA technology to the African continent so that it is produced there”, President von der Leyen said.

She also highlighted the importance of investing in global pandemic preparedness, to prepare the world for potential future health threats and to strengthen the resilience of healthcare systems.

G20 leaders will also discuss how to ensure robust and fair global economic recovery, against the background of COVID-19 pandemic as well as the rising energy prices and interruption of supply chains. The G20 will agree on a global tax reform, which the EU stands ready to implement quickly. “From the EU's side, we will already make a proposal for implementation on the minimum effective tax rate, before the end of this year,” von der Leyen announced. “We expect the system to be globally in place by 2022”.

Climate change – a common theme for G20 and COP26 – requires global leadership and more action, particularly from the largest economies. “We need leadership for credible commitments for decarbonisation to reach the goal of net zero by mid-century, but we also need sufficient commitments to really cut the emissions this decade,” President von der Leyen said.

She emphasised in particular the need to close the gap in climate financing. The European Union and its Member States are already the largest contributor to climate finance with more than USD 25 billion per year. She pledged an additional USD 5 billion until 2027, calling on others to increase their ambition.

At COP26, the UN Climate Change conference starting on 1 November in Glasgow, the discussions will aside financing also revolve around ambition to cut more emissions, and the progress on the rulebook on international carbon markets.

President von der Leyen said that Europe had already reduced its emissions by more than 31% compared to 1990, while growing its economy by 60%, which shows ‘that you can cut emissions and prosper'. With Europe on track to becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050, von der Leyen called on other countries to match this ambition by setting concrete plans and taking immediate action on ground. “The longer we wait, the more expensive it will become. And therefore, it is about action now,” she stressed.

President von der Leyen also announced a number of new initiatives which the EU will launch at COP26, such as the EU-US Global Methane Pledge, the Global Forest Pledge, a partnership with Bill Gates and his programme ‘Breakthrough Energy Catalyst' as well as the Just Energy Transition Partnership.

Copyright European Union