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Climate action back in EU’s policy priorities for the next term – leak

Czarek Sokolowski / AP
Czarek Sokolowski / AP Copyright Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Marta Pacheco
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Idea of scrapping green priorities unveiled in a previous leak unleashed backlash from environmentalists and lawmakers but a new leak on the Strategic Agenda reveals EU leaders' intention to continue pushing for EU climate action.


Nature restoration, water protection and boosting renewables are likely to remain among the political priorities of the EU's next institutional cycle, according to a leaked Strategic Agenda, seen by Euronews, a high-level EU guiding policy document set to be agreed during a summit of EU leaders starting today (27 June) in Brussels.

Previous leaks of the EU leaders’ guiding policy document suggested references to climate action had been all but erased, pointing to a U-turn to the European Green Deal’s main goals, but the latest draft document seen by Euronews pledges to “continue protecting nature” and to “reverse the degradation of ecosystems”.

“We will strengthen water resilience across the EU … We will champion vibrant rural communities and strengthen the position of farmers in the food supply chain,” the document ran.

The document also signals the intention to “accelerate the energy transition” and to “secure the supply of abundant, affordable and clean energy”.

EU leaders are expected to adopt the Strategic Agenda for the next five years during the EU summit which started today and will run until tomorrow in Brussels, to finally conclude EU top jobs decisions, following an initial attempt during an informal gathering on 17 June.

Environmentalists and lawmakers in April were outraged with initial leaks on the Strategic Agenda which said that EU leaders intended to focus almost exclusively on defence, security and competitiveness. The document reflected pre-election sentiment as European People's Party MEPs particularly tacked away from green policies amid a backlash from farmers and repeated protests spreading in Brussels ahead of the 6-9 June EU elections.

Competitiveness remains a central tenet however of the latest draft document, in which EU leaders pledge to “provide a stable and predictable [business] framework” and to “create a more supportive environment for scaling up manufacturing capacity for net-zero technologies and products” across the bloc.

“We will invest in ample cross-border infrastructure for energy, water, transport and communications… We will pursue a just and fair climate transition, with the aim of staying competitive globally and increasing our energy sovereignty,” per the leaked document.

To reach that, EU leaders will direct investments towards ambitious electrification, using all net-zero- and low-carbon solutions, and investment in grids, storage and interconnections, according to the document.

Researchers at the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel are convinced that decarbonisation goals, competitiveness and strategic autonomy will underpin the implementation of the European Green Deal during the 2024-2029 EU institutional cycle, according to a paper published today.

“To strike the right balance between these sometimes conflicting objectives, EU policymakers should focus on both domestic and international aspects of the Green Deal,” Bruegel’s researchers recommend.

At home, EU leaders must ensure implementation of the agreed climate plan, avoiding inaction or delay, the researchers posited, while abroad they suggest the establishment of a “new green-diplomacy and partnerships strategy” in view of supporting global decarbonisation while “addressing competitiveness and strategic autonomy concerns”.

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