This week on 28 November, the European Commission has published its long-awaited “A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy” paper.

In this Long-Term Strategy (LTS) plan, the Commission is calling for a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050. After the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report in October, alerting the global community of the serious impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, the Commission has now set a new milestone to fight climate change by introducing a plan to drastically reduce the EU’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. With this commitment, the Commission has covered nearly all EU policies affected by this decarbonisation process, is aiming to be in line with the Paris Agreement objectives to keep the global temperatures increase below 2°C. Achieving these goals, the strategy serves as a pathway showcasing how Europe can develop a climate neutral economy by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning actions in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research. During this process, the Commission is also committed to ensuring social fairness for a just transition, which is highly welcomed by CEEP and its members.

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Energy Union, stated in a press release “We cannot safely live on a planet where the climate is out of control. But that does not mean that in order to reduce emissions we should sacrifice the livelihoods of Europeans. Over the last years, we have shown how to reduce emissions whilst creating prosperity, high-quality local jobs, and improving people’s quality of life. Europe will inevitably continue its transformation. Our strategy now shows that by 2050, it is realistic to make Europe both climate neutral and prosperous, whilst leaving no European and no region behind” (you can read the full press release of the Commission here).

Further to this statement, a week prior to the publication of the LTS “a Clean Planet for All” paper, CEEP and the EU cross-industry Social Partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope, SMEunited) were invited to a high-level meeting with Vice-President Šefčovič and his cabinet to discuss amongst other issues the key roles played by providers of public services and services of general interest in this decarbonisation process. CEEP, represented by its General Secretary, Valeria Ronzitti, and the Vice-chair of its Energy Task Force, Alain Taccoen, highlighted the need for a level-playing field, for a just transition and for the clear recognition of the role of local actors in this transition.

Additionally, in contribution to the development of this vision paper, the Commission has invited all stakeholders to take part in a public consultation to which CEEP responded on 9 October. You can read our response here.

The next step for the Commission is to promote its strategy vision at the upcoming UN Climate Summit (COP24) taking place from 3 to14 December in Katowice, Poland. After that, as announced by European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Wednesday, all relevant Council formations should hold policy debates on ways to contribute to this vision in the run up to the Sibiu Summit on the Future of Europe on 9 May 2019.

For more information, please contact CEEP policy officer Henriette Gleau, responsible for the Sustainability Board at CEEP (henriette.gleau@ceep.eu).

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