The European Green Deal

How close to deliver genuine societal transformation?



Alix Bolle

Publication date

December 13, 2019

The large-scale climate mobilizations of these past few years have not been in vain. The European Commission has finally recognized the magnitude – and urgency – of the ecological crisis and President Ursula von der Leyen has made it the number one priority of her new mandate, under the umbrella of the European Green Deal.

This massive plan, which includes 50 measures to bring Europe on a climate-neutral trajectory by 2050, has the valuable merit of addressing the climate issues from an integrated and holistic perspective. Indeed, virtually all sectors are tackled from energy to transport, mobility, industry, buildings, waste, biodiversity, international trade, air pollution and even economy and finances.

But is it enough to inject some climate substance individually into each sector of the economy, without operating a bigger paradigm change? How close are we to bring about the larger societal transformation that citizens are desperately calling for?

In its 2019 Manifesto published ahead of the European elections, Energy Cities had called for 8 quick and disruptive EU measures and reforms, all of which have been at least partly addressed.  But a lot more remains to be done.

In a nutshell, these are our 5 takeaways from the new flagship strategy:

  1. The EU macro-economic governance is given a very welcome sustainability boost
  2. While there is more EU budget for climate, we still miss a climate-compatible EU budget
  3. The Just Transition Mechanism could have been a game-changer, if it wasn’t so limited in scope
  4. The proposed Climate Pact fails to build on the Covenant of Mayors transformative power in creating socio-ecological local alliances
  5. The economics of energy markets are still considered from a top-down perspective, with the community energy logic only tackled in the margins

Click here to read the full position paper on the European Green Deal.