Last Wednesday, the European Commission presented its long-term strategy for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050 – A Clean Planet for all.
A few days before the beginning of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice (Poland), the strategy intends to show how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning actions in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research – whilst ensuring social fairness for a just transition. In line with the commitments undertaken in the Paris Agreement in 2015, the Commission’s paper covers nearly all EU policies.
Considering their sectors of activity, many CEEP members are placed at the heart of the strategy. Our members in the field of energy, transport, housing, waste management and water are, directly or indirectly, undergoing a double transformation, with both ongoing digitalization and decarbonization revolutions.
For CEEP members and for the EU, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is a moral obligation and a commitment. We are committed to playing our role to follow an efficient and sustainable path to decarbonize, whilst maintaining a high-quality of public services for all citizens. We need to spread the message that public services and services of general interest are the best-placed to ensure a socially, territorially and societally inclusive energy transition, where nobody must be left behind.
Reaching the goals of a climate neutral economy will need more than a commitment. For the EU to become a trailblazer in the sustainable transition, long-lasting massive investments in skills (for workers and for citizens) and in sustainability will be needed, together with a holistic approach for infrastructure strategy.
Those issues should remain high on the agenda of the EU and will have to be part of the core issues in the upcoming electoral campaigns in 2019. The decarbonization process is indeed one of those topics where a long-term vision is needed: the choices which will be made today will have a long-lasting impact and will require that all actors involved project themselves into the future and visualise their evolution.
We are now at a very pivotal moment for the European social and economic model. Facing heavy transformative forces, and in the emergence of a multipolar world, the EU has important choices to make. The long-term fate of the European project is at stake, and showing ambitions and commitment, whilst preserving the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, is now ever more necessary.
More than ever, the European elections will be pivotal in 2019. After years of discussions, and following the Brexit process, the Future of Europe will start to take shape, first during the Sibiu Summit on 9 May 2019 and during the elections between 23 and 26 May 2019. CEEP intends to play an active role in this process, both at European and at national level.