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European Green Deal: Recent Developments and Controversies Webinar Discussion

On 18 February, BOLDT held a webinar on the European Green Deal: Recent Developments and Controversies. Despite the European Union’s ambition, it is a bumpy road ahead as the latest draft negotiating document presented by the Portuguese Presidency indicates significant disagreements between an ambitious Parliament, proposing a negative emissions goal after 2050 and more reluctant member states, rejecting to make the climate neutrality goal legally binding at all.

As the European Commission moves from strategy development to delivery of the European Green Deal legislative agenda, the Portuguese Presidency of the Council is putting its mark on the EU agenda with an aim of completing negotiations on the Climate Law this spring.

 

The main takeaways from the discussion were:

  1. Interconnectedness of the Green Deal and the sustainability and the biodiversity agenda – The EU is taking a holistic and circular approach to implementing the Green Deal, with a dual focus on environment and climate issues. Additionally, the Biodiversity strategy aims at “bringing nature back into our lives”, by promoting investment in nature protection and restoration as this is also seen as important in the fight against climate change and the EGD.
  2. Fit for 55 – This major building block of the EGD aims at making the EU able to reach its climate reduction target of 55% by 2030. A large part of the considerable package of directives and regulations is set to be proposed by June this year.
  3. Strategy on Sustainable and smart mobility – On 9 December 2020, the Commission published its strategy on sustainable and smart mobility aimed at reducing emissions from transport in order to reach the 2050 climate neutrality goal. The 82 initiatives within the strategy will make mobility in Europe more sustainable, smart and resilient.
  4. The New Industrial Strategy for Europe, set to be published on 27 April 2021, is expected to focus on climate neutrality and decarbonisation, with a strong emphasis on digitalisation to achieve these and should take into account the current situation. Two innovations from the previous industrial strategy should be expected. First, the analysis of strategic dependencies such as in pharmaceutical or food industries. The critical issue for the EU will be to understand where the EU is dependent, where it is vulnerable and what it can do to address these concerns.  Second, a broader debate driven by Commissioner Breton on the impact on the ecosystems is to be expected.
  5. The EU’s taxonomy is facing a number of political and technical setbacks. On the one hand, the considerable amount of responses to the public consultation is causing some delay (46 000 submissions). On the other hand, while most EU member states support the taxonomy, others such as Sweden have expressed concerns that the delegated acts do not contribute to the increasing investments in sustainable activities in particular as it relates to forestry, energy and transport. Greece, Poland, Czechia and Germany also had concerns about the Delegated Act.

The Commission is acutely aware of the complexity of the interconnectedness of all the different files in the EGD and with all the work that is going on, there is ample room for companies and organisations to get involved to influence the outcomes by helping the Commission reach the goals of the EGD.

If you want to learn more about our views on the European Green Deal or need help to untangle this vast and ambitious strategy please contact our partners John Duhig (Brussels) and Kristin Karlstad (Brussels/Oslo) who can help guide you through this complex and extremely important topic.

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