AUTHORS: Clara Casert, Faustine Bas-Defossez
This new report reveals the scepticism of sustainability experts regarding the implementation status of the European Green Deal in the short term, but some cautious optimism post-2024. Based on insights from over 300 experts, the Green Deal Barometer provides recommendations for taking forward the implementation in the current crisis.
As European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presides this year’s annual State of the European Union, two years before the end of the Commission’s mandate, Europe is faced with the most extreme heat wave in recent history, struggling with an immense energy crisis and a war on its doorstep, while bracing for the cold winter ahead.
This troubled context has led to several attempts to derail the European Green agenda and its implementation. Based on the results of our second confidence barometer on the European Green Deal, a new report by IEEP shows that while experts are nervous about the immediate negative consequences of the war and crisis on the implementation of the Green Deal, a majority believes that it will outlast the next European elections and the change of Commission.
Our report builds on the insights of more than 300 sustainability experts to pinpoint the barriers and opportunities for the implementation of the Green Deal and identify the political space for action.
If experts see the European Commission as a beacon of hope for long-term stability, they consistently identify the lack of commitment by Member States as the biggest obstacle to the implementation of the Green Deal agenda.
Given that the Green Deal will ultimately come to life in Member States, it is crucial that the agenda is known, promoted, and championed outside of Brussels. Civil society organisations can play a key rolehere: in all four national pilot surveys included in this year’s Barometer (from the current or upcoming Presidencies of the EU, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Spain which will play a fundamental role in the Green Deal implementation), they come out as the strongest stakeholder in driving progress on the Green Deal.
“Short-term thinking and solutions jeopardizing the Green Deal, the only compass we have, will be detrimental to all. The current energy and food crisis should provide more political courage to the Commission to double down on the Green Deal agenda and resist Member States current attempts to hinder its implementation. Sustainability experts are counting on that courage, as they see the European Commission as an important player in the Green Deal implementation over time”, says Faustine Bas-Defossez, External Impact Director at IEEP.
In more details:
- The ongoing war in Ukraine is seen as a major barrier to Green Deal implementation, with 73% of respondents thinking that it will have a negative impact in the next year. However, experts are still optimistic about the European institutions and their ability to implement the Green Deal post-2024, with 61% foreseeing that the institutions will support the agenda. This means that there is an opening for the Commission to further profile itself as the owner of the Green Deal and control the political narrative.
- Only 9% of respondents believe that progress has been made on the transition to sustainable food systems since the start of the Green Deal. The latest developments on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans, the exemptions on existing environmental requirements requested by the Member States following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the delay of important files such as the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive have been major causes of pessimism.
- On the energy transition, 39% of respondents indicated this as a priority for the European Commission between now and 2024 and 50% of experts believe that Just Transition and Social Climate Funds will significantly facilitate the implementation of the Green Deal.
The Green Deal Barometer also includes recommendations drafted, discussed, and finalised by experts from the Think Sustainable Europe network during the Think2030 conference in June 2022, with focus on four main topics:
Sustainable Food Systems
Estelle Midler, Senior Policy Analyst, CAP and Food at IEEP said: “A strong and ambitious sustainable food system framework law is needed to build a systemic approach, creating the capacity to radically change all the constituent parts of food systems. This brief discusses this issue and elaborates on the shape of such a law could take.”
Fit for 55 Package
Thorfinn Stainforth, Senior Policy Analyst, Climate and Circular Economy at IEEP said: “The EU is at a historical inflexion point in 2022. It can – and must – ensure that the Fit for 55 Package is implemented in a way that promotes equality and economic well-being, as well as reducing emissions, to address the geopolitical, inequality, and climate crises in a lasting, mutually reinforcing way.”
Evelyn Underwood, Head of Biodiversity and Ecosystems services at IEEP, said: “The proposed EU nature restoration law presents opportunities, given the manifold benefits of restoration to nature, people, and the economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
Antoine Oger, Head of the Global and SDGs programme at IEEP said: “EU institutions proposals on the phase-out of free allowances lack ambition, delay the vital transformation of ETS measures to fight carbon leakage and deprive EU funds for industrial decarbonisation of crucial resources in this defining decade.”
The European Green Deal Barometer is produced by IEEP with the support of GlobeScan. You can view the final report here. A summary of the survey results was also made available in June 2022, you will find it here.