The European Union's executive arm welcomed on Wednesday a new U.S. plan on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, saying the proposal would facilitate a global deal late this year on fighting climate change.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives launched a sweeping effort on Tuesday to control emissions of gases blamed for global warming and at the same time help industries that will struggle to meet the proposed environmental requirements.

We welcome this. It is really very encouraging, European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told a news conference.

Under the Waxman-Markey proposal that uses 2005 as a base year, U.S. carbon emissions would have to be reduced by 20 percent by 2020, 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050. The plan is more ambitious than that of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Dimas, who oversees environment issues at the 27-nation EU's executive body, said the U.S. proposal, although it left some key questions unanswered, would help world leaders clinch a new agreement on controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

The deal is to be discussed in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

This will send a very strong message to Copenhagen and facilitate an agreement in Copenhagen, Dimas said.