EU leaders have agreed, in their Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024, to place climate neutrality as a key priority, along with the demands to secure a greener, fairer and social Europe. The conclusions of the Summit on 20 June in Brussels also call for concrete decisions to be taken and agreeing on how to achieve the EU targets of the Paris Agreement in order to ensure an efficient transition to a climate neutral EU that is competitive, just and socially balanced whilst respecting Member States’ national circumstances and their right to their own energy mix.
CEEP welcomes the Council’s positions, highlighting that climate transition is a real opportunity to modernise the EU and make it a global leader in a green economy. Concerns however remain regarding the lack of clarity on concrete actions on the next steps, leaving the European Union empty-handed before the next UNFCCC Climate Summit in September. CEEP continues to call for EU leaders to act now and recognise the threats of climate change that will majorly impact our public services and services of general interest in the very near future, and calls for a stable European framework that promotes and prepares for a resilient infrastructure.
CEEP continues to plead for a socially acceptable transition, ensuring the inclusiveness and sustainability that Europe needs. Member States and the EU institutions need to create schemes and frameworks to ensure a just transition towards more sustainable jobs. At the same time, CEEP sees the bigger picture in this scenario: greening our economy is a huge capital investment, yet it will fund in the long-run the sustainability of our public services, preparing them for an economic future with new technologies through the rise of digitalisation, whilst promoting a circular economy strategy that creates new jobs and ensures energy efficiency.
In short, CEEP demands in its Opinion on Climate Change the following aspects:
- Global warming is a major risk and climate policies must be developed as part of a sustainable approach.
- A prerequisite for success is the social acceptability of these policies, which requires greater equity and democracy, particularly at the local level.
- CEEP members manage essential infrastructure and provide SGIs that contribute to well-being and competitiveness; their proximity to economic actors makes them key players in climate policies.
- The EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 needs to recognise that role and put “enablers” of sustainable climate policies at its centre.
As for the next steps in the European climate talks, Finland is taking over from 1 July the rotating presidency of the Council and is eager to set the tone for more climate ambitious policies in Europe.
In their new programme “Sustainable Europe, Sustainable Future”, Finland aims at taking the lead on climate action and sustainability. The Presidency adds that in order to advance global climate action under the Paris Agreement, a “global balance between greenhouse gas emissions and sinks must be achieved as soon as possible.” This does not come as a surprise, as the Finnish government has already plead to become climate neutral by 2035. It is to expect that climate change will be on top of the agenda of the October and December European Summits, as EU leaders committed to come back and adopt before the end of the year its long-term climate goal in early 2020.