July 14, 2024

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The European Union is “abandoning” the environment

The European Union is “abandoning” the environment

A quick look at the leaked EU priority list – covering the rest of the decade – reveals one peculiarity: The only reference to the word “environment” is the promise to create a “business-friendly environment.”.

Instead, the document is full of references to defence, security and immigration. Climate change is barely mentioned. Nature and biodiversity are not visible at all.

The draft resolution, which is still undergoing changes before it is approved by European Union leaders after the European Parliament elections next June, reflects months of talks between European Council President Charles Michel and the 27 heads of state. It serves as a good reminder of their priorities: Lead, not bees.

as mentioned POLITICO In his publication, about Big difference from 2019This was the last time EU leaders presented their vision. This “strategic agenda” placed the issue of climate change at the top of its priorities, describing it as an “existential threat.” One of the four most important priorities of the European Union The goal was to “build a climate-neutral, green, just and social Europe.”

But the world has changed since then. The European Union has passed a raft of legislation on the Green Deal. Russia invaded Ukraine. Energy costs have risen dramatically. Concerns about immigration, as well as the far right, have increased, while Chinese and American competition has unnerved Europe.

Reflecting all this, the first page of the draft – which EU leaders will discuss at their summit in Brussels next week – focuses entirely on foreign policy, defence, broader EU membership, and combating illegal immigration.

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The second section, “A Prosperous and Competitive Europe,” mentions climate change by name, but… It remains in second placeThis angered environmental organizations.

“This plan is a 20th century military strategy to protect people from 21st century security threats. But you can't start a fire, and you can't bomb a flood.” States Ariadna RodrigoPolitical Campaign Director of Greenpeace EU.

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Green word “missing”

While Michel's draft includes separate subsections on migration, defence, rule of law and others, the green transition falls alongside digital issues under the rubric of “achieving the dual transformation”. There is no mention of Europe's pioneering Green Deal, or the ambitious plan to achieve climate neutrality for the EU by 2050.

In reality, The word “green” does not appear anywhere in the text.



The document outlines efforts to invest in electricity grids and accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, while boosting research to help Europe achieve climate neutrality and prepare for “new data emerging from climate change.”

Although green may not have been at the heart of politics last year, climate catastrophes are beginning to hit Europe, and scientists are issuing increasingly stark warnings about global warming.

Last month, mr European Environment AgencyAn independent EU research body that advises policymakers urged the bloc to prepare for the risks of a warming planet, and identified agricultural pollution as a key priority for the next European Commission.

Regarding this issue, European Union leaders have succeeded in improving their tone, as angry farmers recently “flooded” the roads in Europe with their tractors, in protest against the policies being followed.

Peasants' March, Brussels

Alexandros Michaelidis/SOOC

On Wednesday, the head of the EU Green Deal Maros Šefčović It tried to allay concerns about the green transition by promising to reduce red tape and lower energy prices. Weeks ago, the authority decided to ease the environmental conditions for receiving agricultural support, in an attempt to calm the protesting farmers.

Right middle European People's PartyThe political family of European Union official Ursula von der Leyen has also spent the past year trying to relax or repeal environmental legislation. “Our European Green Deal has transformed the fight against climate change into a plan for growth, clean industry and social justice.” Von der Leyen said during her re-election campaign launch in Athens last weekend. “Now we need to continue to support our industry and small businesses to make this happen.”

He did not mention nature, biodiversity or the environment, however Focused on strengthening Europe's military power After Russia invaded Ukraine. “The next frontier” He said “It is the collective defense and security of Europe.”