Green Deal pushback?
It was always expected that moving the EU Green Deal forward would not be without any hurdles. And here they are!
In the past weeks, pushbacks against two flagship initiatives of paramount importance in reversing the degradation of our soils and hydrosphere – the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation and the Nature Restoration Law – have multiplied in the European Parliament. Similarly, in the Council, the French President and the Belgian Prime Minister have floated the idea of a pause. In both cases, the Commission has, so far, remained on the fence.
On other major environmental issues, the pushback from fossil fuel producers, chemical industries, and financial institutions is also happening. This may well be the case with the ongoing negotiations of the UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, where both the US and China seem to be reluctant to consider more substantive binding rules, starting with the ban on single-use plastics.
One ray of hope, nevertheless, was the G7’s clear support for the Marine Protected Areas around the Antarctic ahead of the upcoming meeting in Chile, where China will have to disclose more of its hand - as it did last year - in helping midwife a good declaration on biodiversity in Montreal and contributing in New York to a successful conclusion of a new High Seas Treaty.
This rather sombre picture is all the more worrying as the signs of environmental degradation are multiplying, including the recent World Meteorological Organisation warning about the serious risk of a short-term, hopefully temporary, overshooting of the 1.5° global warming threshold, or the severe impact of droughts in Spain this spring.
Since its creation in 2019, Europe Jacques Delors has been advocating and supporting an ambitious European ecological transition strategy in line with the voters’ expectations, while proposing solutions for the public debate on the formidable economic, social, and international challenges it entails.
Following the echo of our editorial of March on the impact of the EU’s green trade measures on the most vulnerable countries, our team has been working hard to come up with possible responses. These suggestions will feature in our next paper in the ‘Greening Trade’ series which will be published next week. We will not propose to push back on greening the EU’s trade policy, but to push forward a more development-friendly course!
Geneviève Pons and the EJD team