Objectives of the EU Green Deal for 2020 and 2021

Objectives of the EU Green Deal for 2020 and 2021

The EU Green Deal is Europe’s ambitious plan of a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use, whilst ensuring that no person and no place is left behind (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:b828d165-1c22-11ea-8c1f-01aa75ed71a1.0002.02/DOC_1&format=PDF).

The Green Deal is an integral part of the Commission’s strategy to implement the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals.

The European Commission presented, in late 2019, an initial roadmap, for 2020 and 2021, of the key policies and measures needed to achieve the European Green Deal. The key pillars of the European Green Deal are climate; clean, affordable and secure energy; industrial strategy for a clean and circular economy; sustainable and smart mobility; green agricultural policy / ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy; preserving and protecting biodiversity; towards a toxic free environment; sustainability in all EU policies; the EU as a global leader; and working together – a European Climate Pact (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:b828d165-1c22-11ea-8c1f-01aa75ed71a1.0002.02/DOC_2&format=PDF).

In relation to climate, a proposal on a European ‘Climate Law’ enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality objective was adopted in March 2020. Also, other key actions entail a comprehensive plan to increase the EU 2030 climate target to at least 50% and towards 55% in a responsible way, in summer 2020; and proposals for revisions of relevant legislature measures to deliver on climate targets, following review of certain directives and regulations, such as the Energy Efficiency Directive and Renewable Energy Directive, by June 2021.

It was reported on 3rd September 2020, that EU governments are considering a plan to set an intermediate emissions-cut goal for 2040 in a bid to keep the bloc on track for climate neutrality. As such, diplomats from the EU’s 27 nations are set to discuss next week a draft law that would make binding the region’s objective to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-03/europe-may-tighten-pollution-rules-again-in-zero-emissions-bid?sref=DzjLIKVJ).

In light of the above, the European Climate Law, which must be endorsed by member states, will become the legal foundation of the Green Deal. Germany, who is chairing the meetings, is aiming to secure an agreement on the position of member states in October and further amendments may be proposed in the coming weeks.

Other key actions regarding climate, entail a proposal for a revision of the Energy Taxation Directive in June 2021; a proposal for a carbon border adjustment mechanism for selected sectors in 2021; and the New Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change in 2020/2021.

Turning to clean, affordable and secure energy, the requisite actions include an assessment of the final national energy and climate plans – such as energy efficient, renewables, greenhouse gas, emissions reductions, interconnections, research and innovation, that were taken by the EC Commission in June 2020.

In relation to industrial strategy for a clean and circular economy, the key actions include EU industrial strategy; and circular economy action plan, in March 2020; initiatives to stimulate lead markets for climate neutral and circular products in energy intensive industrial sectors; and propose legislature waste forms, from 2020. Also, legislation on batteries in support of the Strategic Action Plan on batteries and the circular economy – an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. – in October 2020; and a proposal to support zero carbon steel-making processes by 2030, will be put forward in 2020.

Moreover, for sustainable and smart mobility, the pivotal measures that must be taken, entail a strategy for sustainable and smart mobility in 2020; funding call to support the deployment of public recharging and refuelling points as part of alternative fuel infrastructure; and assessment of legislative options to boost the production and supply of sustainable alternative fuels for the different transport modes, from 2020.

Also, other actions include initiatives to increase and better manage the capacity of railways and inland waterways, from 2021, as well as a proposal for more stringent air pollutant emissions standards for combustion-engine vehicles, in 2021.

Furthermore, in making the Common Agricultural Policy green, there will be an examination of the draft national strategic plans, with reference to the ambitions of the European Green Deal, in 2020-2021 (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:b828d165-1c22-11ea-8c1f-01aa75ed71a1.0002.02/DOC_2&format=PDF).

Another important pillar to the EU Green Deal is preserving and protecting biodiversity. In order to achieve this, the requisite actions to be taken include an EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, in March 2020; measures to support value chains, which are deforestation-free, from 2020; a New EU Forest Strategy in 2020; and measures to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, from 2021.

Regarding the EU towards a zero-pollution for a toxic free environment, key actions include chemicals strategy for sustainability, in summer 2020; zero pollution action plan for water, air and soil; and revision of measures to address pollution from large industrial installations, in 2021.

Additionally, in the original roadmap of the EU’s Green Deal, the actions to be implemented for mainstreaming sustainability in all EU policies, include a proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism, including a Just Transition Fund, and a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, which were put forward in January 2020. Also, a renewed finance strategy will be introduced in Autumn 2020 and a review of the Non-Financial reporting Directive, will be made within 2020.

Continuing with the above, there will be initiatives to screen and benchmark green budgeting practices of the Member States and of the EU; align all new Commission initiatives in line with the objectives of the Green Deal and promote innovation; the stakeholders to identify and remedy incoherent legislation that reduces the effectiveness in delivering the European Green Deal; and integration of the Sustainable Development Goals in the European Semester, from 2020. There will also be a review of the relevant State aid guidelines, including the environment and energy State aid guidelines, in 2021.