Ursula von der Leyen announced that she would make climate policy the trademark the new European Commission. When unveiling her long-awaited European Green deal on December 11, she recalled that climate change was and existential issue for Europe and the world and that it demanded for environmental policy to become the flagship program of Europe.
In its communication on the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2020, the Commission draws once again the attention of the urgency and seriousness of the situation caused by climate change and biodiversity loss.
Citing IPCC figures, and the rapidly growing number of environmental disasters, it calls for climate change to be fought, and for action. These different statements of the Commission have shown how much the priorities of the European Union (EU) have changed.
Nevertheless, given the critical human and social issues involved, semantic changes are not enough and Europe as a whole must now take real pragmatic action.
The Commission is not alone in considering global warming as an existential threat. In December, EU heads of state approved the European Green Deal of Ursula von der Leyen, despite Poland’s reservations regarding the European objective of achieving climate neutrality by here to 2050.
The European Parliament also boosted these statements by voting on a resolution declaring a climate emergency in Europe in November 2019.
As a matter of fact, the European Parliament is ready to play a crucial role in the economic, ecological and social transition in Europe.
The disaffection of the citizens towards the European institutions, the deficit of democracy that can be felt throughout the continent, the crisis of political trust in the political representatives call for a repolitisation of the European Parliament to be leader on the ecological issues.
It is within this context that the intergroup on the Green New Deal has been created in December 2019 in the European Parliament. This transpartisan forum aims at giving impetus to ecology and social justice as high priorities in the European Union.
More generally, it aims at reorienting our entire economic system so as not to suffer the devastating ecological and social consequences of the climate crisis that cracks down everywhere.
This intergroup was initiated by its cochairwomen – Aurore Lalucq (S&D) and Alice Bah Kuhnke(Greens / ALE) and its vice-presidents Manon Aubry (GUE / NGL), José Manuel Fernandes (PPE) and Samira Rafaela (Renew). Working across parties and borders will enable cutting edge ideas and expertise to deliver a truly Green New Deal that is so desperately needed in Europe.
For the next 5 years, the Green New Deal intergroup has determined its agenda by focusing on 4 main objectives.
First, it will focus on increasing the knowledge to make climate change an opportunity for European industries, European jobs and European economies.
Secondly, it will catalyse a productive dialogue with NGOs, businesses, industries, farmers, citizens, European institutions, and MEPs.
Thirdly, it will raise awareness on the transformative potential of a Green New Deal in Europe and support the development of transeuropean networks on the matter.
Finally, it will make sure the European Parliament is weighing in the negotiations and the arbitrages that will be made by the Commission under the European Green Deal programme.
And especially by putting more ambition in this programme. The ecological and social transition in Europe requires massive public investment.
As a matter of fact, at a time when the environmental crisis is clearly becoming a matter of survival and security for the people of Europe, public investment must pick up the slack from private investment in the Member States. Also, the euro area has been suffering from systematic public under-investment for many years.
Investing in the ecological and social transition, education, public infrastructure and health would make it possible to prepare our economies to cope with current challenges, to create jobs, particularly in the transitional sectors, but also to avoid the costs inherent in a failure to invest.
The Green Deal can become a true big paradigmatic and holistic game changer for our economic models in Europe, or it can be another technocratic proposition for a sectorial amelioration.
In the first case, we win. In the second, we lose big, even, if not first, on economic terms. As Winston Churchill said, “If you don’t take change by the hand, it will take you by the throat”.
To seize the opportunity to influence and shape the proposals put forward by the Commission, the Green New Deal intergroup in the European Parliament has set its timetable of work depending on the Commission’s for the European Green Deal’s implementation.
In March 2020, the intergroup plans to make concrete proposals on industry, biodiversity and sustainable products; emanating from a collective work with European civil society.
Before the summer of 2020, the intergroup will focusing on food, farm, chemicals and reforestation.
On February the 5th of 2020, the Green New Deal Intergroup will organise its first conference in the European Parliament with speakers from the private sector, researchers, elected members, and NGOs, in order to identify the common concrete policies that the European Union can adopt under the European Green Deal.
(S&D), chairwoman, the bureau of the intergroup – Green New Deal
Alice Bah Kuhnke
(Greens / ALE), chairwoman, the bureau of the intergroup – Green New Deal
(GUE / NGL), vice president, the bureau of the intergroup – Green New Deal
(Renew), vice president, the bureau of the intergroup – Green New Deal
|José Manuel Fernandes
(PPE), vice president, the bureau of the intergroup – Green New Deal