EU Parliament approves European Green Deal, but calls for ‘inclusive transition’

16 Jan 2020

Image: © VanderWolf Images/

By a sizeable majority, the EU Parliament has supported the European Green Deal, but thinks it doesn’t go far enough.

MEPs have voted for the European Green Deal, which was finalised last month, with 482 in favour, 136 against and 95 abstentions. Described by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen as the EU’s “man on the moon moment”, the deal aims to spend at least €1trn overhauling the continent’s infrastructure and energy usage so that it can be carbon neutral by 2050.

In its statement, the EU Parliament said that while supporting the deal, it also wanted more ambitious short-term targets and an inclusive and “adequately funded just transition”. This would include changing the language of the deal.

Parliament wants to set a definitive target of a 55pc reduction in emissions compared to 1990, instead of the deal’s current language which says “at least 50pc towards 55pc”. The EU should adopt these targets well in advance of the next UN climate crisis conference in Glasgow this November, MEPs said. Furthermore, they added that an interim target for 2040 should be set to make sure the EU is on track to meet its 2050 carbon neutral target.

‘Leave no one behind’

MEPs stressed that they will amend any legislative proposals to meet the objectives of the European Green Deal. This will include higher, binding renewable energy targets for member nations to meet, in addition to a revision of EU legislation for the deal by June of next year.

“Parliament overwhelmingly supported the Commission’s proposal on the Green Deal and welcomes the fact that there will be consistency between all European Union policies and the objectives of the Green Deal,” said MEP Pascal Canfin, who is chair of the Environment Committee.

“Agriculture, trade and economic governance and other policy areas must now be seen and analysed in the context of the Green Deal.”

Speaking following the unveiling of the plan earlier this week, von der Leyen addressed the issue with Poland, which has refused to agree to the deal because of its reliance on coal. She said that the transition should “leave no one behind”, aided by the previously announced €100bn Just Transition Mechanism.

This would mean nations heavily reliant on fossil fuels would get priority for funding. However, the EU’s regional policy commissioner, Elisa Ferreira, said the mechanism will not fund the construction of nuclear power plants.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic