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New 'Green Deal' is EU's growth strategy, says Commission

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New 'Green Deal' is EU's growth strategy, says Commission

Ursula von der Leyen - Photo © European Union 2019 - Source EP

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission presented its long-awaited 'European Green Deal' Wednesday, a package of measures to boost efficient use of resources, to turn climate challenges into opportunities across all policy areas.

"The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy," said the Commission's new president Ursula von der Leyen, "for a growth that gives back more than it takes away. It shows how to transform our way of living and working, of producing and consuming so that we live healthier and make our businesses innovative."

Ms von der Leyen said Europe could be a world leader on climate by "moving first and moving fast. We are determined to succeed for the sake of this planet and life on it – for Europe's natural heritage, for biodiversity, for our forests and our seas. By showing the rest of the world how to be sustainable and competitive, we can convince other countries to move with us."

The European Green Deal provides a roadmap with actions to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy and stop climate change, revert biodiversity loss and cut pollution. It outlines investments needed and financing tools available, and explains how to ensure a just and inclusive transition.

The Green Deal covers all sectors of the economy, notably transport, energy, agriculture, buildings, and industries such as steel, cement, ICT, textiles and chemicals.

To set into legislation the political ambition of being the world's first climate neutral continent by 2050, the EU executive says it will present within 100 days the first 'European Climate Law'. To reach its climate and environmental goals, the Commission is also to present the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the new Industrial Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan, the Farm to Fork Strategy for sustainable food and proposals for pollution-free Europe. Work will immediately start for upping Europe's 2030 emissions targets, setting a realistic path to the 2050 goal.

Meeting the objectives of the European Green Deal will require significant investment. Achieving the current 2030 climate and energy targets is estimated to require €260 billion of additional annual investment, representing about 1.5% of 2018 GDP. This investment will need the mobilisation of the public and private sectors. The Commission will present in early 2020 a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan to help meet investment needs. At least 25% of the EU's long-term budget should be dedicated to climate action, and the European Investment Bank, Europe's climate bank, will provide further support. For the private sector to contribute to financing the green transition, the Commission will present a Green Financing Strategy in 2020.

The Commission acknowledges that not all regions and Member States start from the same point. A 'Just Transition Mechanism' will support those regions that rely heavily on very carbon intensive activities. It will support the citizens most vulnerable to the transition, providing access to reskilling programmes and employment opportunities in new economic sectors.

In March 2020, the Commission will launch a 'Climate Pact' to give citizens a voice and role in designing new actions, sharing information, launching grassroots activities and show-casing solutions that others can follow.

The global challenges of climate change and environmental degradation require a global response. The EU will continue to promote its environmental goals and standards in the UN's Biodiversity and Climate Conventions and reinforce its green diplomacy. The G7, G20, international conventions, and bilateral relationships will be used to persuade others to step up their efforts. The EU will also use trade policy to ensure sustainability and it will build partnerships with its neighbours in the Balkans and Africa to help them with their own transitions.

The Commission now invites the European Parliament and the European Council to endorse the Commission's ambition for Europe's future economy and the environment and to help realise it.

The European Green Deal - background guide

Communication on The European Green Deal

European's state of the environment 2020 Report – European Environmental Agency

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