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Cancun talks headed for ‘disaster’

The European Union’s  president, Herman Van Rompuy, has predicted “disaster” at the latest crucial round of global climate change negotiations in Cancun, Mexico and voiced relief that he stayed away from the Copenhagen summit a year ago. The Guardian says that after a meeting with Van Rompuy in December last year, just after he was the surprise choice to be the first president of the European council, a senior US diplomat described the Belgian as “animated and frustrated”.Van Rompuy said the Copenhagen climate change talks had been “an incredible disaster”. Looking forward to the current negotiations in Cancun in Mexico, the European leader predicted that these would be a disaster too. 

Van Rompuy complained bitterly that the Europeans had been “totally excluded” and “mistreated” in Copenhagen and said he was only lucky that he had decided to stay away. In a postmortem he said that the EU, proudly branding itself the world pioneer in combating climate change, had been snubbed by the US and China at the talks in Denmark, delivering a blow to prestige from which the EU has yet to recover. “Had I been there my presidency would have been over before it began,” the cable quotes him as saying. The diplomat noted: “He thought it was a wise decision not to attend the conference despite the pressure. He was not angry, in the sense that he never seems angry, but he was as animated and as frustrated as I have seen him.” In public the EU is talking up the case for reviving climate change agreement hopes in Cancun, but last December Van Rompuy was dismissive and pessimistic, both about the Cancun negotiations and about the very format for the talks. “Van Rompuy said he has “given up on Mexico’,” the American reported, while his chief of staff, Van Daele, likened the Cancun talks to the repeat of a bad film and said: ‘Who wants to see that horror movie again?’ “. Van Rompuy strongly criticised the unwieldy format of the talks, with too many players involved. He urged a concentration on the US, the EU and China, focusing his efforts towards a European-American breakthrough at their summit planned for last May, which in the end did not take place.

See more in the Guardian (4th Deceber 2010) and online at http://www.poten.com/NewsDetails.aspx?id=10830455 and see more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/02/cancun-climate-change-summit-us and http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord