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27th Feb 2020

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ENVI to deliver 'Green Deal' as main priority

  • 'We cannot afford to waste time. We need a fast yet robust implementation of the Green Deal across Europe,' MEP Canfin said (Photo: european Parliament)

Climate, environment, and health are some of the top priorities for European citizens. The high turnout in the 2019 EU elections (50.6 percent), mainly driven by the participation by young people, sent a clear message to European politicians.

Economy and growth, as well as climate change, were the main reasons to participate in the elections, according to a Eurobarometer survey carried out by the EU parliament last June.

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The committee on environment, public health and food safety (ENVI), chaired by MEP Pascal Canfin (Renew, France) sees in the new Green Deal promised by the EU Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen a "unique opportunity" to answer the call citizens made in the votes.

The committee will focus its efforts on four main dimensions of the environmental crisis that impact our daily lives: climate emergency, biodiversity loss, environmental health, and resources crisis.

For the Green Deal to work, Europe needs to elaborate a comprehensive approach, including a renewed climate law to achieve carbon neutrality, and finding funding for the energy transition, Canfin told EUobserver.

"We will have to mobilise and generate financing capacities to bridge the investment gap of €200bn of private and public investments, each year until 2030, in order to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement," he said.

The implementation of the Green Deal must be just and fair from west to east and south to north. "We should leave no one behind," Canfin added.

One of the most challenging objectives of this taskforce will be finding and deploying industrial and agricultural solutions in line with the carbon-neutral target for 2050 that Europe has committed to achieving.

The committee sees that now is the moment to boost sustainable measures such as producing cheap and large-scale renewable energies, developing affordable electric cars or building high-efficiency infrastructure, deploying carbon-neutral technologies in all relevant sectors.

The ENVI (Environement, Public Health and Food Safety) committee has a long-standing reputation of a forward-looking and progressive policy-making, said Canfin, who considers that the main priority for the next five years should be to deliver the Green Deal - setting up a clear roadmap.

"We cannot afford to waste time. We need a fast yet robust implementation of the Green Deal across Europe," he said.

To do so, the committee in charge of environmental policies will have to convince the rest of MEPs to reach a consistent European approach in terms of climate action.

However, making Europe the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050, while supporting a heterogenous energy transition and a circular economy based on zero pollution, will not be an easy task for any of the parties involved - parliament, commission, and member states.

"I will work with all the stakeholders that want to ensure that president-elect von der Leyen's ambition becomes a reality," he assured, adding that this generation is the first one who has all the levers to drive change, but also the last one to avoid a climate disaster.

The coordinators of ENVI committee, who manage their political group's viewpoint on the topics before the committee, are Peter Liese (EPP, Germany), Jytte Guteland (S&D, Sweden), Nils Torvalds (Renew, Finland), Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, Netherlands), Silvia Sardone (ID, Italy), Alexandr Vondra (ECR, Czech Republic) and Silvia Modig (GUE/NGL, Finland).

This article first appeared in EUobserver's latest magazine, Who's Who in European Parliament Committees, which you can now read in full online.
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