European Union (EU) Current Affairs - 2020

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Poland out of EU’s Climate Neutrality 2050 plan

On December 13, 2019, Poland left 2050 Climate Neutrality Agreement of European Union as the Union demanded for more funds to support nuclear power and for economic transition.

Highlights

Poland, whose 80% of energy needs are relied on coal opted out of Climate Neutrality 2050 plan. The country requested to extend the plan execution deadline to 2070 availing longer period to cut emissions according to the plan. But net players like Netherlands refused to agree to the terms that led Poland to leave the plan.

Hungary and Czech Republic stopped their resistance after nuclear energy was recognized as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

European Union 2050 Climate Neutrality Plan

The Climate Neutrality Plan is a key commitment under 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It is a 100 billion Euro plan for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is also called European Green Deal or Europe’s man on the moon moment.

Previously under Paris Agreement, the EU had committed to reduce its emission by 40% by 2030 as compared to 1990. There were no goals set for 2050 initially. Under the new plan, the 2030 target has been increased to 50% and a new 100% target has been set for 2050.

Climate Neutrality means emissions will have no impact on climate. It also includes warming effects that do not come from carbon. The plan is important as the EU bloc that comprises of 28 countries is the third largest economic bloc after China and US in contributions to climate change.

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Ireland votes to ease restrictions on Divorce Law

People in the Republic of Ireland have voted by an overwhelming majority to ease the constitutional restriction on country’s divorce law.

Key Highlights

  • Background: A 1995 referendum granted Irish couples the right to divorce by a slim majority of 50.3% and since then the mandated separation period was a hangover condition. In 2018 Ireland again held a referendum in which 66% voters cast votes in favour of repealing country’s constitutional ban on abortion.
  • Recent development: Now in 2019 around 82 % of Ireland voters casted their ballot in favour of removing a provision that requires couples to live separately for four out of previous five years before their marriage is dissolved.
  • Need: At present, Irish divorce law is regarded as among the most restrictive in Europe. It is considered to be responsible for Ireland having lowest separation rate of any European Union (EU) member state which is also evident by figures released by country’s Central Statistics Office for year 2015. The rate of low separation because of strict divorce law rate places an unfair emotional and financial burden on couples as well as families at a time when Irish rental and property prices are spiking.
  • Significance: The step is latest in a series of reforms taken up by Republic of Ireland to modernise the charter of the once-devoutly Catholic nation.
  • Way Forward: The Irish government now will bring a new legislation shortening requirement to two out of the prior three years for couples to live separately before dissolving their marriage.

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