The present pandemic crisis brings uncertainty to the European Green Deal – the ambitious plan for environmental and climate progress. What can policymakers do if they wish to keep the green momentum? Mats Engström, senior advisor at SIEPS, offers six courses of action. (2020:8epa)
How will COVID-19 affect environmental policy in the European Union? What can governments with high ambitions in this area do to keep the momentum of the Green Deal, put forward by the European Commission?
Mats Engström, senior advisor at Sieps, identifies a number of factors that tend to keep the policy window for the Green Deal open, including the political commitment from the Commission and from Member States such as Germany and France.
On the other hand, much attention has for now turned from environment to health and economy. There is also a risk for increased tensions on climate policy between different parts of the European Union.
It is too early to draw definitive conclusions on how COVID-19 will affect EU environmental politics. Much will depend on Council negotiations about the Commission proposals during the coming months. Finance ministers will play a crucial role, since the future of environmental policy is closely linked to strategies chosen for the economic recovery.
According to the author, political leadership will be key to what green paths the European Union chooses. Governments with high environmental ambitions need to particularly consider six issues:
greening recovery policies
financing green transitions
creating advantages for all parts of the Union
planning strategically for the long term
building broad support in society
framing the Green Deal in a global perspective.
The analysis is among other sources based on interviews with 15 senior policymakers and experts in the European Union.