How “frugality” hurts the climate cause – and how to undo the damage
Member states that dug their heels in during the EU recovery negotiations should now form a new climate coalition to achieve more than the July deal.
It feels a long time since mass protests rocked cities across the world demanding greater urgency in combating the climate crisis. From Fridays for Future to Extinction Rebellion, in Europe the movement brought hundreds of thousands of people out onto the streets. With the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the visibility of the climate demonstrations diminished – although some groups have been creative in developing physically distanced forms of protest.
For the European Union and its member states, however, climate action remains a top priority. Among the 20 policy areas examined in ECFR’s new EU Coalition Explorer, climate policy is the only one that makes it into each and every member state’s top ten. The study shows that it is the most important consideration in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. Across all EU27 countries, climate is the third most important issue (up from tenth place in 2018), right after fiscal policy and migration.
When the new European Commission took office at the end of last year it set out to implement an ambitious agenda: to increase the EU’s geopolitical clout, to make Europe fit for the digital age, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The European Green Deal was to provide the toolbox for the last of these.
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