Sarkozy to attend climate meeting in Poland

PARIS – French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet leaders of nine central European states on Dec. 6 to discuss their concerns about an EU timetable for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, Poland’s leader said Thursday.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the working lunch would take place in Gdansk, Poland. France, which holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc, is hoping to clinch an agreement before the next meeting of the Council of the European Union in Brussels on Dec 11-12.

Most EU members insist on going ahead with a December timetable for legislation requiring a 20 percent cut in EU emissions by 2020.

But some former Soviet bloc countries argue the EU’s envisioned pace could hurt them more than the prosperous members of “Old Europe” — the 15 west European nations that have not had to play catch-up to compensate for decades of ruinous communist economic policies.

Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia have all called for special consideration on the emissions cut timetable. The Czech Republic also will take part in the meeting with Sarkozy.

Speaking after a meeting with the French president in Paris, Tusk said the leaders’ positions were “now very close” but that those who consider the targets too ambitious in light of the global financial crisis must be reassured.

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