EU leaders pledged Friday to press ahead with the ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change, with a view to bringing the bloc on board before the deal takes effect, French President Francois Hollande said following talks in Bratislava.
The deal, agreed in the French capital last December, is the first universal action plan aimed at keeping global temperature increases within two degrees of pre-industrial levels.
Although the European Union prides itself as being a global leader when it comes to taking action against climate change, the bloc is lagging in its ratification of the deal - a step that China and the United States completed earlier this month.
Any further delays would subject the EU to "ridicule" and "costs us international credibility," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier this week.
Hollande said progress was made in Bratislava, however.
"All the members of the EU are henceforth ready to ratify [the deal] as fast as possible, so that Europe can be directly associated in the governance of this accord," the French president said.
Britain was not at the table for the informal summit, which was convened after that country's shock decision to leave the EU.
The Paris deal does not formally come into effect until it has been ratified by 55 countries, representing at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Slovakia, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, announced plans to hold a special meeting of environment ministers on September 30 to speed up the ratification process. The accord needs to be passed by EU member states and by the bloc as a whole.
The European Parliament is due to cast its vote in October, Hollande said.