Monday

19th Oct 2020

Magazine

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.
Von der Leyen gives Timmermans green deal

EU Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen announced that Frans Timmermans will coordinate the European 'Green Deal' and climate action policies.

Timmermans to end EU climate 'contradictions'

Fossil fuel subsidies should end and there is "no future in coal", the EU's would-be green commissioner, Frans Timmermans, has said in his pledge to make the EU carob neutral.

Sinkevičius pledges to 'listen' to climate protests

Lithuania's commissioner-designate, Virginijus Sinkevičius, unveiled during his three-hour hearing on Thursday a package of proposals to protect the environment - from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the sky.

EU leaders spent just 12 minutes on climate

Climate change was part of the agenda of the EU leaders for Friday's summit. However, the council decided to finalise the EUʼs long-term strategy on climate change at its next meeting in December.

Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

The Green Deal commissioner, Frans Timmermans, said the costs of inaction in climate policy are "tremendously high". However, it is still unclear if member states will unanimously agree on the EU's 2050 climate-neutrality goal at next week's summit.

Magazine

Six priorities for human rights

Belgian socialist MEP Marie Arena is chairing the European Parliament's sub-committee on human rights. Her biggest challenge? Finding ways to reach objectives that cover an enormous spectrum of issues - from climate to child protection.

News in Brief

  1. Italy takes extra measures as Covid-19 infections rise
  2. Coronavirus: Brussels worst in Europe, health minister says
  3. Vandalism sparks call for EU action on 5G disinformation
  4. Belgium installs curfew, closes restaurants and bars
  5. Ireland to probe Instagram's use of EU children's data
  6. Belarus: 10th weekend rally in a row against Lukashenko
  7. Warfare continues to rage in South Caucasus
  8. Turkish Cypriots elect nationalist president

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Magazine

Which parties and countries chair the EP committees?

Although the European Parliament tries to keep a geopolitical balance within the committees, the breakdown of the actual chairs of the committees by political party and nationality is uneven - with a clear under-representation of central and eastern EU countries.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. France marks trauma of history teacher's murder
  2. Spain's Sanchez in storm over judicial appointments bill
  3. Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience
  4. Brexit and EU budget in spotlight This WEEK
  5. A ghost town haunts the future of Cyprus
  6. EU leaders unsure how to talk to Turkey
  7. EU leaders discuss Turkey's air and sea 'provocations'
  8. EU's 2030 climate target left for December summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us