At the end of 2019, the European Commission announced their intention to pursue a new growth strategy for Europe, that will address the existential threat of climate change. The European Green Deal is intended to be the path forward for transforming the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. With this EU Green Deal, Europe aims to become the first climate neutral continent by reaching zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. All while creating a Europe in which economic growth is decoupled from resource use and where no one is left behind. 

BUT. And this is a big but! The EU Council, made up of the member states heads of government, was not aligned with the Parliament’s position of tackling the 1.5 degree climate goal. Therefore, the Climate Law had to be decided in the Trilogue negotiations between the European Council, the Parliament and the Commission. 

When Earth Day and the President Joe Biden’s Climate Summit were coming closer, European leaders sped up the negotiations and reached an agreement. This agreement is some progress, but does not at all meet the scale of the climate crisis and its urgency. 



In the spring of 2020 the European Commission proposed the European Climate law as a critical update to the EU’s climate policy and in view of putting us on track to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The Commission initially proposed increasing the EU’s emissions reduction targets from -40% to -55% from 1990 levels by the year 2030. However, science tells us we need a much higher 2030 target to put us on track to reaching 2050 climate neutrality, let alone for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.  As a result, the European Parliament voted for an ambitious target of a 60% reduction.

But, the EU Council, made up of the member states heads of government, was not aligned with the Parliament’s position. This means that the Climate Law had to be decided in the Trilogue negotiations between the European Council, the Parliament and the Commission. On the 24th of June, the proposed target of 55% net-emission reductions by 2030 was agreed on. The law passed with 442 votes for, 203 against and 51 abstentions. The Greens voted against this climate law since according to what science tells us and to what was promised in the Paris Agreement, the agreed target is not ambitious enough.

The Greens in the European Parliament along with environmental organizations and activists were pushing for a 65% reduction target and were disappointed by the lack of ambition in the agreed target. Especially since the 55% net-emission reduction target is in fact only a 52,8% real-emission reduction target. While this seems to only be a small detail, this 2% difference has a big impact on our path of reaching climate neutrality and keeping global temperature rise to well below 2 °C.

The European Council and the European Parliament also agreed on establishing a European Climate Change Council (ECCC), something the Greens have been calling for. The ECCC will provide scientific oversight of EU action on climate and is supposed to provide vital transparency. The ECCC will be made up of 15 members with a 4 year mandate where  geographical and gender balance is assured.


Check out this blog by the Greens/EFA to learn more

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To help repair the economic and social damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU leaders have all agreed on a European recovery plan that will lead the way out of the crisis and lay the foundations for a modern and more sustainable Europe. 

Across Europe, Greens are advocating an approach that puts climate at the heart of recovery, to build a better tomorrow. The Covid-19 crisis has put our world on pause for over a year now and has affected many people and sectors. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we build something better, a greener and fairer world for everyone. We can’t afford to just go back to normalbecause normal means we will still be in the climate crisis.  

A Green transition can not only guarantee well-funded health and social services, as well as a resilient and sustainable economy, but also cleaner air, healthier ecosystems, greater energy security and a more innovative economy. Recovery must be achieved through a real transition to a more resilient and sustainable economic model. 


New pieces of the Green Deal will continue to be proposed and discussed over the next months and year. But, to make sure it is a truly Green Deal, we’ll need to make sure that each of these strategies is as ambitious, sustainable and just as possible, by making sure our leaders know that we demand a more sustainable future. Here are a few important strategies that will be discussed by the EU institutions in the coming months that we’ll be following and focusing our advocacy on: 

Fit-for-2030 – climate and Energy Package Review push for strong and ambitious updates to the Climate and Energy Package review in June including a coal-phase out by 2030 at the latest, followed by other fossil fuels soon after, a 2030 combustion engine phase out, and a truly ambitious commitment to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible.

The Common Agriculture Programme which is being renewed this year and which sets the EU’s agricultural policies for the next 7 yearsThese policies determine whether our food production is local and sustainable and whether our small farmers are protected and supported. Currently, it is not in line with our climate goals. You can learn more about the #WithdrawtheCAP campaign here.

The Renovation Wave to make our homes more energy efficient, reduce energy poverty, and lead the way for greener, safer and more comfortable homes across Europe. Read more here.

Fairer Fares are vital for making Europe’s transportation options more sustainable and more fair. We need to end the unfair tax exemption for airlines and put greener transit options — like trains! — on even footing! Learn more here.

EU Taxonomy make sure EU regulation on sustainable finance does not allow for natural gas and nuclear to be counted as “climate-friendly” investments, and end all subsidies for fossil fuels.