Russia is making EU climate goals look 'ridiculous', says Poland's Kaczynski

FILE PHOTO: Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski signs coalition agreement in Warsaw
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WARSAW (Reuters) - Russian actions concerning gas supply have made advocates of the European Union's plan to tackle climate change look "ridiculous", the leader of Poland's ruling party said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Poland has called for the bloc to cancel or delay parts of its "Fit for 55" plan to tackle climate change ahead of a summit at which EU leaders will wrangle over their response to surging gas and electricity prices.

"After the Russian action concerning gas, the creators and advocates of this 'Fit for 55' have, to put it delicately, made themselves look ridiculous," Jaroslaw Kaczynski told Gazeta Polska weekly.

"Energy prices have hit many EU countries with such force that their citizens will simply not agree to further increases in the name of some unproved theory."

Kaczynski did not specify exactly which Russian actions he was referring to.

"Fit for 55" refers to the EU policy package to cut emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.

Russian gas giant Gazprom booked about a third of offered additional gas transit capacity via the Yamal-Europe pipeline via Poland for November and has not booked any volumes via Ukraine, auction results showed on Monday.

Europe has been eagerly awaiting more gas supplies, especially from Russia, as it tackles skyrocketing natural gas prices, boosted by tight supplies and economic recovery.

Poland is one of Europe's biggest producers of coal and relies on the fuel for almost 80% of its electricity production.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans has said that it would be wrong to slow down the transition to renewable energy for ideological reasons or to protect the fossil fuel sector and that the current high energy prices relate to the price of gas, not existing measures to fight climate change.

In the interview published on Wednesday, Kaczynski also said Poland could fund its plans for infrastructure spending even without money from the European Union for its National Recovery Plan.

Brussels has still not approved Warsaw's spending plans for COVID-19 recovery funds amid an escalating row over the rule of law in the EU's largest eastern member.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, additional reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz in Warsaw and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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