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Does the Green Deal have a future?

Does the Green Deal have a future?
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Farmers protest against the Green Deal in Brussels on 4 June. (© picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS / Omar Havana)

Just a few days before the European elections, climate protection is in the public spotlight once more following major floods in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The EU Commission has scaled back the climate targets enshrined in the Green Deal under pressure from the farmers’ protests and growing support for right-wing populist and climate-sceptic positions. Commentators take aim at the backtracking.

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A matter of survival

Jornal de Notícias hopes that the climate crisis will also play a role in the choices of voters in the European elections:

“Between Thursday and Sunday, Europe will hold what are arguably the most important elections in its history, and it is to be hoped that the new European Commission that emerges from these elections will remain committed to cutting emissions on a continent that is warming twice as fast as the global average. The short-term view of the far right, which denies climate change, means playing with the lives of Europeans, because this is not an ideological issue but a matter of survival.”

EU marginalising itself

Gazeta Wyborcza worries that the EU is falling behind economically:

“The next term of office in Brussels will not be easy. In addition to the challenges of the war in the east and immigration, we are faced with the question of whether we still want to count for anything on the global economic map. We don’t have to wait another six years to see that the Green Deal, despite its laudable goals, does not offer a positive answer.”

Climate politics under pressure

Barbara Junge, editor-in-chief of the German daily taz, fears that there will be a step backwards in climate policy after the election:

“The anti-climate protection movement is large, transnational and will presumably aggressively dominate the new European Parliament. The Green Deal, the EU’s attempt to comprehensively tackle the climate crisis, is the target of this movement. And there is a lack of resistance … The momentum that the climate movement had in 2019 only led to a short-term reorientation among conservative politicians, above all Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Even though the climate crisis is escalating globally and Europe is the continent that is heating up the quickest, climate politicians are in backward defence mode in 2024.”

Blot on the green record

The EU Commission has abandoned both its ambitions and its determination regarding climate protection, NRC criticises:

“In a nutshell, the restoration of nature and the greening of agriculture have utterly failed. … This is a clear blot on the Commission’s green record, and may also affect the future of climate targets. … Under pressure from right-wing critics in her own party and with an eye to the elections, Von der Leyen has also begun to cast doubt on parts of the Green Deal in recent months.”

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