World shipping companies and airlines should be forced to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by between 10 and 20 percent by 2020, European Union environment ministers agreed Wednesday.

United Nations talks in Copenhagen in December should demand that airlines cut emissions to 10 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and that shipping companies cut by 20 percent, ministers agreed at a meeting in Luxembourg, according to EU diplomats.

The cuts should be implemented “globally in a manner that ensures a level playing-field”, according to a draft agreement prepared for the ministers’ meeting by the Swedish government, current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency.

Ahead of the talks, diplomats said that the question of airline and shipping cuts was one of the most divisive on the table. Some member states argued that the EU should not commit itself to any emissions limits before other major economies agree.

The Swedish compromise stressed that the targets of 10 and 20 percent should only be read as covering “negotiating purposes” in Copenhagen, not as an EU commitment to bring in such caps unilaterally.