Angela Merkel is leading German attempts to protect industry from tough EU environmental targets.
Europe's leaders are gathering in Brussels for a battle over how to enforce an EU target to reduce CO2 emissions 20 per cent by 2020 -- a decision that was taken before the economic slump.
Diplomats and officials fear that environmental pledges made in rosier economic times will be an early casualty of the global downturn damaging the EU's role on the world stage as broker of global climate change talks to be held in Copenhagen next year.
Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, has written to heads of state and government warning that "key questions still remain open" over "decisions with highly significant implications".
"I am determined to ensure that the European Council lives up to its responsibility and to citizens' expectations," he wrote.
"I am sure that each one of us will be able to ...