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Europe’s Green Deal

The European Union’s “Green Deal” provides a masterplan for a just transition to a sustainable, climate-friendly future.
EU Green Deal Windenergy
© dpa

From 1 July 2020 onwards, Germany will be the EU Council President for six months. Overcoming the Coronavirus pandemic is the most pressing task. However, under the motto of “Together for Europe’s recovery”, climate protection is also to be right at the top of the agenda. Among the most important projects are a European climate law that will create a legally binding basis for the goal of making Europe climate-neutral by the year 2050, as formulated in the Green Deal. Moreover, the EU climate target for 2030 is to be increased. Germany supports the EU Commission’s proposal whereby the previous target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels is to be shifted to at least 50 and towards 55 percent.

The goals of the Green Deal

With its “Green Deal”, the European Union has set itself far-reaching goals, aiming to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The undertaking, which EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented in her inaugural speech in December 2019, is thus not just a masterplan for the next few years. Rather, it focusses on nothing less than the coming three decades, with the aim of modernising Europe sustainably and fairly. The Commission is responding in this way to the growing risks that climate change and the loss of biodiversity pose to the economies of the EU member states, while also responding to the results of the European elections in May 2019, when a very large number of citizens showed by their votes that they wanted more climate and environmental protection.

Green technologies as an opportunity

At its heart, the Green Deal is a new growth strategy. The basic idea is simple: A large part of Europe’s economic output relies on preserving our natural resources, which include water, air and the soil as well as forests, oceans and a stable climate. Pre-emptive action is the best way to secure prosperity in the future, too. The Green Deal therefore prioritizes green technologies and a sparing approach to nature. The objective is to sever the link between economic growth and the use of resources, while at the same time creating new jobs. The countless initiatives in the framework of the project also give companies the requisite security in their planning and lay the foundations for a more crisis-resilient EU. This is also the underlying idea when it comes to overcoming the Coronavirus crisis.

Video: The European Green Deal

Sustainability as the principle underlying the European Union is not new. However, the Green Deal goes even further: It supports and accelerates the restructuring that is already in motion and turns it into a comprehensive concept for the future. The plan factors in all areas of the economy and society, from industry, trade, transport and agriculture to biodiversity, our natural heritage, the circular economy, and structural change. As key levers in the transformation process, taxation and finances will in future, so the plan, be brought to bear according to green criteria.

Vision for the continent

In the form of the Paris Climate Treaty, the European Union also committed to limiting global warming to well under two degrees and, if possible, to 1.5°C. The Green Deal outlines in the form of specific strategies and measures what Europe’s contribution to this will look like. In this way, the EU seeks to set a credible example and thus woo other players and like-minded allies at the international level.