The Network had the opportunity to hold an interesting interview with H.E. Cristian Tudor, EU Ambassador in Kuwait on the EU Green Deal as the european growth strategy that can help EU's economic recovery while at the same time addressing the global climate emergency. Read also about the perspectives of the EU-Kuwait cooperation in the context of the EU Green Deal and the added-value the EU can offer to international partners in terms of clean energy in the post-COVID era.
Q: The European Union has committed to climate neutrality by 2050. How does the EU aim to achieve this?
A: In 2019, the European Commission announced the European Green Deal as the strategy through which to achieve EU climate neutrality by 2050. The goal is that while tackling the existential threat of climate change, the EU will pursue economic growth in ways, which create better jobs and enhance people’s well-being.
We will do this by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities and making the transition just and inclusive for all. The EU leaders and institutions show strong commitment to this carbon neutrality goal. Through the recently voted European Climate Law we are turning this political ambition into legal obligation. The EU law makers have even updated the EU’s climate target for 2030, backing a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.
Q: What are the key drivers for the success of the EU Green Deal and how does the EU Green Deal fit in the global climate agenda?
A: The transition to a climate-neutral society is both an urgent challenge and an opportunity to build a better future for all. Strong and concrete actions are required by all sectors of the EU economy in order to reach the ambitious clean targets. This is in line with EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement and the objective to keep the global temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5°C.
Key drivers of the EU Green Deal are: investments in clean energy and environmental-friendly technologies; support of industrial innovations; introduction of sustainable forms and means of transport; decarbonisation of the energy sector; ensuring energy efficient buildings; and of course working with international partners to improve global environmental standards.
Moreover, at international level, the EU will continue to lead international negotiations to increase the ambition of major emitters ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow (COP26).
Q: Does the pandemic and the current economic conditions change EU strategy towards climate neutrality?
A: The Corona virus has shaken Europe and the world to its core, testing our healthcare and welfare systems, our societies and economies and our way of living and working together. In order to deal with the challenge of addressing the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU has launched a major recovery plan. The EU’s recovery plan must guide and build a more sustainable, resilient and fairer Europe for the next generation.
Our generational challenges - the green and digital transitions - are even more important now than before the crisis started. Through the recovery, we will press fast-forward on the twin green and digital transitions.
The European Green Deal is the growth strategy that can help Europe’s economic recovery while at the same time addressing the global climate emergency.
Q: What are the perspectives of the EU-Kuwait cooperation in the context of the EU Green Deal?
A: Kuwait is a natural partner for the EU as we both strive for more peace and stability in the region through diplomatic means and mediation. We both have a strong humanitarian and development focus in our external relations.
Complementing the EU-GCC Cooperation Agreement of 1988, our bilateral relations received a new impetus in 2016 when the EU and Kuwait signed a Cooperation Arrangement, first of its kind among the Gulf countries. This document provides a basis for strengthening our cooperation in various areas, such as security and counterterrorism, humanitarian and development cooperation including clean energy technologies.
The EU is actively working with partner countries and other regions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. It promotes ambitious climate action in multilateral fora and in its bilateral cooperation with countries outside the EU.
I believe that “Green recovery” is one of areas where we have an enormous potential to strengthen our relations with Kuwait following the COVID-19 pandemic. Other areas include renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency, smart grids electricity markets, hydrogen technologies, carbon capture storage and utilisation, economic diversification in the context of climate change etc. All addressed under the prism of policies, technologies, research and innovation.
Q: What added-value the EU can offer to Kuwait in terms of clean energy in the post-COVID era?
A: The EU is a keen supporter of global efforts to fight climate change. The EU and its Member States are the largest provider of public climate finance worldwide.
To support international cooperation in the clean energy field, the EU mobilises flexible mechanisms such as the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network (Network), which has been funded by the European Commission and supported by the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat General since its inception. This Network was created in 2010 and it has implemented important activities and events in Kuwait with authorities and research institutes. We are happy to seek ways to continue and strengthen this cooperation.
In the framework of the EU Green Deal, we are glad to work with Kuwait and international partners to accelerate clean energy transitions and improve global environmental standards, since Climate Action is at the heart of our strategy.
We are delighted that Kuwait is embarking on a clean energy transition pathway and that renewable energy is an important element of Kuwait’s Vision 2035. European companies and institutions have been instrumental in supplying technology and services for that, e.g. in the Shagaya project, which deploys European solar and wind technologies.
We are witnessing a real change happening in Kuwait and in the wider region with exciting visions and ambitious projects launched. Commitments to push the energy transition agendas go a long way in furthering economic diversification objectives and climate change agendas. This also creates an attractive environment for the EU entities to be partners in this endeavour.