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EU’s Green Agenda – New Foundations for a European Vision

Since 2014, the EU's political and economic climate situation has adjusted to emerging challenges, with climate change being one challenge in particular. It is by no means a surprise that the incoming Commission’s agenda has already great emphasis on green issues (see Ursula Von Der Leyen’s 2019-2024 programme). The probable institutional arrangement reflects the importance of this agenda, the so-called Green New Deal for Europe.


Commission-veteran Frans Timmermans is set to become Executive Vice-President for Climate Change, stressing the importance of the area. The Commission President-elect had proposed the introduction of a European Green Deal during her first 100 days in office – the matter is clearly at the top of her to-do list.


It is now indispensable to take a quick overview of the upcoming legislative initiatives, in order to define the next Commission’s priorities. The following list represents what we think to likely carry the heft of policy in the upcoming months to one year.


  1. Europe, as the world’s first climate-neutral continent (European Climate Law – to ensure the 2050 climate-neutrality target, Emissions Trading System, Carbon Border Tax, Review of the Energy Taxation Directive)

  2. New Industrial Strategy (focusing on circular economy and clean technologies)New Circular Economy Action Plan – sustainable resource use (e.g. textiles and construction)

  3. New Just Transition Fund (focusing on the “green change”, the “ecological transition” in Cohesion Funds)

  4. European Climate Pact

  5. Strategy for Green Financing

  6. Sustainable Europe Investment Plan

  7. European Investment Bank will turn into Europe’s Climate Bank

  8. More ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030, with a 55% increase; Zero pollution ambition

  9. Biodiversity Strategy for 2030

  10. Sustainable food production through “Farm to Fork Strategy”

  11. Fight against plastic waste by tackling micro-plastic

  12. Completion of Natura 2000 network

  13. Review of the European Investment Fund in light of climate action - submit guidelines for investments which are compatible with the climate


This is an ambitious green program. It could well be considered as a new foundation to a new European vision. The message is unblemished: if the EU wants to remain credible on the global stage, it has to do its homework first. With this program, the EU positions itself as a global leader in green economy. And this time it seems not to be about simply “greenwashing” European industries but instead recalibrating the focus, transitioning into a new economic and social order, where natural capital will have a serious weight – more than it has until now. The proposed structure of the von der Leyden Commission reverberates this approach.


It is likely, however, that some EU Member States diverge from the EU “green mainstream” on different policy proposals, and some political parties put out ephemeral green ideas to wash themselves clear – this might jeopardize the whole idea.


The EU internal West-East divide is an existing cleavage in Europe; hence it would be the utmost importance to diminish the difference between the “old” and “new” Member States. However, the “green wave” is not only a one party-related political phenomenon in Europe, it is rather a new trend coming from grass roots, which gives a growing legitimacy to the Commission’s ambitious green agenda. Therefore, not only EU institutions but political, economic actors, civil society are expected to be following closely and wanting to control all initiatives and legislations.


We believe that stakeholders with a distance-keeping approach to sustainably and circularity are pursuing logy strategy. The next five-ten years are going to be turning around the above. We suggest getting engaged.




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