The European Union is a key player in global action on environmental issues, not only because of its internal proficiency, laws and regulations, but also because of its influence on multilateral processes. Although it now accounts for only 7.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the historic contribution of European countries to environmental disruption and the economic weight (16.5% of global GDP in 2022) of its market and economic players make it an important place for inventing and implementing solutions to environmental crises.
The European Green Deal, a flagship political project launched in 2019 by the European Commission, has helped strengthen the EU's environmental ambitions in its domestic policy in an unprecedented way, particularly with regard to mitigating climate change. It proposes a new vision of the economy, with concrete effects: changing the source of our energy, creating a circular economy, constructing and renovating the buildings, speeding up the transition to sustainable mobility, setting up a new food system, preserving biodiversity and eliminating toxic substances from the environment. It promises to do this by promoting green finance and investment while ensuring a just transition. A large number of new and revised regulations have been adopted since 2019 to speed up the ecological transition in all sectors of the European economy. The challenge now is to implement them.
However, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, while finding Europe relatively united in its response, has created a gap between the two pillars of the Green Deal: a proactive acceleration of energy transition policies, but at the same time a delay and less ambition for the agricultural and food strategy. Work must continue, however, to better integrate the socio-economic and geopolitical dimensions of the ecological transition and to shift the balance towards greater action on environmental aspects that are currently underdeveloped, such as adaptation to climate change and the protection of biodiversity. Finally, concerns have also emerged in terms of the EU's international policy regarding the adoption of some of the Green Deal measures impacting imported products (carbon adjustment mechanism at borders, regulation on deforestation) and the pursuit of the EU's international cooperation policy in a context of increased competition for financial resources in Europe.
In this context, IDDRI is working with a number of European think tanks to contribute to the European debate on transition by:
- Formulating proposals for a coordinated, ambitious and fair European strategy, particularly in the areas of energy, transport, industry and agrifood, both internally and externally, in conjunction with its trade and cooperation partners;
- Sharing analyses and presenting the Institute’s work in groups or in coordination with other think tanks to stakeholders in the various Member States, in particular the EU Presidencies, and to the European institutions;
- Contributing to the debate on the continuation of the European Green Deal and its strategic priorities, through the Institute’s own activities and through its participation in the Think Sustainable Europe (TSE) and the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) networks, which enable IDDRI to take stock of the progress of the Green Deal in each country, its perception by key players and to identify the need for further development at European level.