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EU summit discusses energy, climate change

The spring summit was chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

world Updated: Mar 12, 2007 17:19 IST

Leaders of the 27-member European Union began a two-day summit in Brussels on Thursday evening with energy and climate protection dominating the agenda.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said that for Europe to be credible on fighting climate change it must set binding targets for future renewable energy reliance.

"From Moscow to Washington, they will be watching us to see if we are really credible," Barroso told reporters.

The spring summit, dealing mainly with economic issues rather than external relations, was chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose country holds the current EU Presidency.

Germany is calling on Europe to play a global lead in tackling climate change and wants member states to agree to a binding target for use of energy renewables at 20 percent of all energy use by 2020.

But some member states, including France, Hungary and the Czech Republic, are opposed to mandatory targets as they have to make huge investments in renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power.

EU leaders will also discuss the Berlin Declaration to be released on March 25 in the German capital to mark the EU's 50th anniversary.

International issues such as the Middle East, Lebanon and Somalia were discussed by EU foreign ministers over dinner Thursday.