EU leaders met for a second day of talks in Brussels but decided to push back a decision on reducing carbon emissions by 55% in the next decade.
EU heads of states talked late into the night about their climate ambitions, but did not adopt a specific target for emissions reductions by 2030.
They will instead delay discussions on the issue to their December summit.
"We have tried to identify what are the building blocks to make agreement possible in December. We are convinced we need more political will," EU Council President Charles Michel said Friday.
He said that achieving a green deal would be essential.
For the time being, the European Commission has proposed a target of cutting emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
The European Parliament, however, has gone even further with a proposal to cut emissions by 60%.
Almost half of the 27 EU member states want to boost the existing target of reducing emissions by 40% to 55%, but Eastern European states such as Poland, which relies on fossil-fuels, are uneasy.
In accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU has promised to be climate-neutral by 2050.
German Green MEP Ska Keller said she hopes EU leaders will hold a special summit dedicated to climate and that the German Council presidency will put pressure on EU member states to come to an agreement.
The European Parliament has laid the groundwork for the EU to meet its climate obligations, she said.
EU to step up joint Covid-19 efforts
EU heads of states agreed that more coordination was needed to combat Covid-19 on a European level and promised to step up talks together to improve testing and tracking.
The situation is 'serious, it is unprecedented', EU Council President Charles Michel said on his way into the meeting.
Thursday night the bloc signed off on a statement calling for better coordination effort among EU member states and the European Commission based on ‘the best available science, cross-border contact tracing, testing strategies, the joint assessment of testing methods, the mutual recognition of tests and the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU’.
For one senior EU source, the situation is delicate as EU leaders keep saying they want coordination, but that we should follow the rules in their country. ‘When it comes down to discussing concretely, it is a different story.’ he added.
For one expert, all the EU can do now is try to keep the train on the tracks in the coming months. ‘The strategy is clear – avoid another complete national lockdown at all costs, keep education open’, Jacob Kirkegaard from the German Marshall Fund told Euronews. ‘This means maintaining high levels of fiscal stimulus, which again means the ECB will have to continue to support the economy and essentially try to make through the winter hoping for an effective vaccine in 2021’, he added.