European elections: The road to a Green Deal is difficult after the rise of the right

After that, the right turn made by the European Parliament European elections MEPs, officials and analysts who spoke to Reuters said it would create obstacles to the adoption of more ambitious environmental policies.

Center parties retain a majority in the European Parliament, but the results show big losses for the Greens and impressive gains for right-wing and far-right parties that don’t take kindly to the environmental package.The Green Deal”.

“I do not believe that there will be a retreat from (green) politics. But I believe that the promotion of new policies will become more complicated,” said Bas Eichhut, the head of the Eurogroup of the Greens.

From 2035, it will be aimed to ban new cars running on gasoline and diesel

The European Commission is of course responsible for proposing new policies, but its proposals go through the European Parliament. Reuters. The results of the elections show that it is difficult to find numbers for the adoption of new environmental protection measures.

“All new policies will be more difficult to adopt. However, regression is impossible,” said Polish Environment Minister Krystod Bolesta.

Julian Popov, Bulgaria’s environment minister until last April, agreed: “New ambitions are likely to be delayed mainly for populist reasons.”

This could have implications for the 2040 interim climate target, with a 2050 goal of net zero carbon emissions. The Commission proposes to cut carbon emissions by 90% by 2040, but the proposal must be approved by member states and the European Parliament.

The next Commission and the European Parliament will also be asked to make difficult decisions on policies that push the industry towards the 2040 target.

This includes agriculture, a sector whose carbon emissions have barely declined since 2005.

But after months of protests by angry European farmers, there appears to be little political will for new rules in the sector, especially if their introduction raises food prices at a time when consumers are facing the biggest increase in the cost of living. a generation

Thanks to their mass mobilization, European farmers were able to avoid measures to reduce carbon emissions (Reuters)

Existing measures remain

While enacting new green policies is difficult, overturning dozens of measures passed in the past five years is legally difficult or impossible.

These measures, which include renewable energy targets and changes to the carbon price, have been incorporated into European law and are already being implemented by 27 member states.

Many such measures are already bearing fruit: EU carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by almost a third from 1990 levels, and new wind and solar projects are being built at a record pace.

Nevertheless, in the run-up to the election there were calls from the right to roll back some of the measures of the Green Deal, the main example being the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2035. It is planned to revise the contract. 2026 and the European Parliament will have a say.

“It was an ideological absurdity that needed to be corrected,” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told Open magazine last week in reference to the ban on internal combustion engines.

In this year’s election, the issue of climate change was overshadowed by immigration, precision and the challenges facing European industries.

Three European diplomats cited the ban as the policy that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will come under the most pressure to weaken, even from some lawmakers in her own People’s Party. Von der Leyen also needs the support of a majority of the European Parliament to renew her term.

A widespread withdrawal is highly unlikely, according to officials and analysts. This is partly because many environmental measures are needed to meet the 2030 climate target of reducing net carbon emissions by 55% from 1990 levels, which is already enshrined in European law.

Investments in local industry

Unlike the 2019 European elections, when millions of young protesters took to the streets for climate, this year’s election was overshadowed by the issue of climate change, immigration, precision and the challenges facing European industries.

Achieving the climate target for 2030 will require 1 trillion investments. According to data from the European Investment Bank, it has increased by about 365 billion euros per year compared to 2010-30.

Investment in domestic industries has been a campaign promise across the political spectrum as Europe’s competition with the US and China for green technologies such as electric cars and low-carbon steel intensifies.

Some analysts predict that the EU will approve more funds and policies for environmental protection programs, but focus on helping industry rather than the “green” or “clean” side of the issue.

“If it’s about increasing the production of green technologies here in Europe, it can be done in the name of ‘industrial competition’, not climate,” said Linda Culcher, executive director of the think tank Strategic Perspectives.

“We may see the rhetoric change, but the action on the ground remains the same,” he said.

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