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Good morning. Yesterday, the European parliament voted in favour of a law to protect nature, overcoming weeks of pushback from the conservative European People’s party. And in Vilnius, the Nato summit wrapped up with symbolic security commitments for Ukraine from G7 countries — but was overshadowed by a remark by Britain’s defence secretary about Kyiv’s “gratitude”, exposing irritation in some quarters about the constant demands for the west to do more to help.
Today, I preview the love-in around today’s EU-Japan summit and my environment colleague explains why Poland is spoilt for choice when it comes to suing Brussels over climate rules.
I am away tomorrow, Laura’s in charge. Have a good weekend.
When Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida sits down for a working lunch with the EU’s presidents today, he’ll have a strong sense of being among friends. As the bloc’s closest partner in the Indo-Pacific, there are few countries whose policies align so closely with those of Brussels.
Context: Tokyo and Brussels are bound by deep trade, financial and political ties, and their G7 and G20 memberships. Russia’s war against Ukraine has given fresh impetus to collaboration between western countries and “like-minded” democracies in Asia.
If Kishida’s late predecessor Shinzo Abe’s most notable foreign policy focus was to (unsuccessfully) try to make a friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin, the incumbent has firmly refocused Tokyo towards its western partners: the EU and Nato.
Kishida comes to Brussels from the Nato summit in Vilnius (as it happens, so too will his hosts Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen) where he agreed a new “partnership programme” with the military alliance. That describes the two as “reliable and natural partners, sharing common values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as strategic interests,” a sentence straight out of the EU’s phrase book.
Nato’s line is that outreach to Japan is crucial because “security is global”. Expect the EU leadership to return the favour and say something similar.
Today’s talks will focus on green transition efforts and digital and technology issues, such as co-operation on semiconductor and chip supply chains, where both parties recognise the need to rethink a current supply chain reliance on China and Taiwan.
Japan is also keen to promote itself as a willing and able reconstruction partner for Ukraine and sees close collaboration with Brussels as a smart way to play a role, officials said.
Kishida will also seek a clear answer from his two hosts on the EU’s stance towards Beijing. Tokyo is a little ruffled by France’s veto of a plan for Nato to open a liaison office in Japan, which some officials worried was influenced by Paris’ unwillingness to upset China — a concern not helped by Emmanuel Macron’s clumsy remarks in April on Europe’s role in the hypothetical defence of Taiwan.
Chart du jour: Empty pockets
High inflation might lead to bumper pay increases, but wages still can’t keep up. Real wages fell about 4 per cent across the OECD in the first quarter of 2023, permanently hitting households’ spending power.
Just pick one
Poland is having “internal discussions” about which climate files to sue the European Commission over first, writes Alice Hancock.
Context: Poland has repeatedly voted against EU green laws, saying they are too ambitious for a country that still sources 70 per cent of its energy from coal. Last month, Polish climate minister Anna Moskwa said Warsaw would appeal against certain EU climate legislation at the European Court of Justice.
But where to begin with the vast “Fit for 55” climate package?
How about in the beginning: Adam Guibourgé-Czetwertyński, Warsaw’s deputy minister for environment, told the FT that his country would probably start with the laws first agreed by EU countries, namely rules on land use and forestry as well as others on countries’ emissions.
Guibourgé-Czetwertyński said Brussels was too busy setting new environmental goals to concentrate on the issues member states had with the current ones.
“The answer from the commission is yet more ambitious targets, instead of trying to address the actual root of the problem: Why are we not on track with these objectives . . . When we see that nobody achieves these targets it begs the question: What is missing in our policy framework?” he said.
He said that the EU should do more to help non-EU countries cut emissions rather than place heavier burdens on its own citizens, and exchange ideas with the rest of the world.
In June, Poland missed a deadline for delivering a national plan on how to meet the EU’s 2030 goal of cutting emissions by 55 per cent compared to 1990.
Guibourgé-Czetwertyński said this was owing to an extended consultation over Poland’s future electricity generation and would be presented to the commission “in at least a couple of months”.
What to watch today
Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visits France.