The European Union foreign affairs ministers’ commitment to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 was welcomed by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group.

“The decision by the Council to put climate diplomacy on its foreign affairs agenda is an important step in the right direction. It is an obligation of the EU and the member states to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement and to tackle environmental challenges together with partner countries through diplomatic channels,” said Knut Fleckenstein, S&D MEP and spokesperson on foreign affairs, on February 26.

In turn, Arne Lietz, S&D MEP and co-rapporteur of the report on Climate Diplomacy, said the next steps should be to increase human resources in the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission for climate diplomacy. “The next Multiannual Financial Framework has to reflect such steps with additional funds for climate action and diplomatic efforts. We need a comprehensive joint effort on EU level which targets all stakeholder levels involved.”

In July, the European Parliament will vote on recommendations for future EU climate diplomacy and take up climate on its own foreign affairs agenda. The recommendations are currently being drafted by MEPs in the committee on environment, public health and food safety (co-rapporteur, Jo Leinen, S&D).