President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen attended the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit via videoconference on 30-31 May. President von der Leyen thanked Prsident Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea for hosting the summit and said "in an exciting ‘Race to Zero,' I was delighted that President Moon announced Korea is also aiming to be climate neutral by 2050." "And I am encouraged by the commitments of our Korean hosts. This includes your plan for an ambitious NDC update ahead of COP26, in line with your net zero targets, and your announcement of an end to overseas coal financing. It is this kind of action that can both inspire and benefit Korea's international partners," she added.
The following is the full speech by President von der Leyen.
Thank you very much President Moon,
I am delighted to be participating today at the P4G Summit in Seoul. Indeed, recovering from the pandemic it is the right time to rethink our societies and economies. It is clear that things will never be the same but we can influence the direction they take. We have a chance to rebuild for a greener and healthier future. And that is what the European Green Deal is about – our new growth and innovation strategy.
Europe aims to be the first climate neutral continent by 2050. We set out on this journey already in 2019. Today, many countries around the globe are in an exciting ‘Race to Zero'. And I was delighted that you, President Moon, announced that Korea is also aiming to be climate neutral by 2050.
Even though the finish line is 30 years away, the race starts now. The 2020s is the ‘make or break' decade. And that is why Europe has committed to reduce our emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Our targets are now written into Europe's first ever Climate Law. So we are no longer discussing if, but rather how to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. Europe will be doing its part.
But the reason we are here today is that we all need to do our share. At COP26, we must show that we have understood this. Big or small, developing or developed, we all have to invest in a green transition and adapt to the coming changes in our climate. It is a matter of self-interest, of mutual interest and of collective interest. And I am encouraged by the commitments of our Korean hosts.
This includes your plan for an ambitious NDC update ahead of COP26, in line with your net zero targets, and your announcement of an end to overseas coal financing. It is this kind of action that can both inspire and benefit Korea's international partners.
My hope for Glasgow is that we see even more nations committing to reach net zero by mid-century. And even more importantly: that we see more concrete plans for how to get there. My Commission will adopt a package of legislation in July, which we call ‘Fit for 55'. It will detail out our European policies to meet our -55% target for 2030.
Of course, we all start from different places, and we have different geographies and different finance needs. But this is also true within Europe. So we have to overcome these obstacles. On this long journey, we will all have to learn from each other. And Europe is ready to lead, and we are also – always – ready to share. We are ready to share our ideas and strategies on climate action.
Change is never easy. But Europe has taken the decision, because mankind cannot wait any longer. We have to do this together – it was wonderful to listen to Jane Goodall saying that so rightly. So the more we partner for green growth, the quicker and easier it gets for all. The next six months are crucial for the health and wellbeing of our people and our planet. Let us work together. You can count on Europe.
Thank you very much President Moon.