The European Union is reportedly planning to increase its private jet travel budget for many of its top officials, a number of whom are pushing the United States to step up its climate policies, financial documents show.
EU officials have raised the amount that can be spent in such travel by more than $3.8 million, Politico reported Tuesday, citing a document published in September in the EU’s tenders database. The new amount of $11.7 million for the contract represents a 50% increase on the original value. EU officials would not necessarily spend all of the money outlined.
The decision to increase the amount came as EU officials gathered in New York for the U.N. climate summit. Officials said the promises made at the summit were disappointing. European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen promised at the summit to aim for climate neutrality by 2050 for the EU, among other goals.
But no major promises were made. The EU, for instance, was unable to make the mid-century climate neutrality pledge, as four of its 28 member countries blocked the target, fearing such measures would torpedo their fledgling economies.
EU officials have been championing the block’s climate credit recently. “The EU has a strong story to tell — we are global climate leaders,” Miguel Arias Cañete, the European commissioner for climate action and energy, told reporters ahead of Monday’s summit.
Increasing private jet use also comes in contrast to comments made by officials who talk about using commercial jets. (RELATED: UN Audience Laughs In Delight When Bloomberg Thanks Trump For Attending Climate Change Summit)
“When I was talking to Donald Trump, I was constantly looking at my watch so that I wouldn’t miss my flight home,” Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag in June. “Trump kept saying, ‘Your ‘plane can wait!’ He didn’t realize that I didn’t have my own aeroplane.”
President Donald Trump, for his part, made a surprise appearance at the UN’s meeting on climate change Monday before leaving to hold his own meeting on religious freedom. He only stayed for 10 minutes to hear Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak.
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