In 2020, the pandemic caused the deepest recession in the history of the EU, creating uncertainty and a false dilemma of economic recovery versus tackling climate change. The next EU budget and the recovery plan have tackled this head-on, clearly stating that the largest use of tax payer money should be reserved for a green recovery and a socially just transformation. Policy objectives are on the right track too – the EU aims for a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. Our Climate, Energy and Sustainability Programme focuses on the crucial role of innovation, regulation, investment and competition to improve policy thinking and encourage action from all sectors of society.
Friends of Europe’s work in 2021 will promote inclusive climate action, explore the potential of the circular economy and look at how a Paris Agreement for biodiversity can become a reality. We’ll work to ensure climate change and the decline of biodiversity aren’t seen as standalone problems. We’ll make the links between energy and digital infrastructure, industrial policy, carbon pricing and green investment, ensuring that cities and citizens are central to discussions. Friends of Europe’s objectives in this arena are to bolster the green transformation, create space for new leadership, regenerate democracy, address inequality and encourage the EU to use its trade and geopolitical positioning to promote inclusive climate action at the global stage.