Publication date

July 20, 2023

Four years have already gone by since the current college of Commissioners took office, under the leadership of Ursula Von der Leyen, and now it’s time to take stock… and prepare for the next term.

Between the pandemic, the acceleration of climate disasters, the war in Ukraine, the energy price crisis… the agenda dictated itself, and Europe emerges from this sequence relatively strong.

Now, what are the priorities for the next term?

In a world that’s more uncertain than ever, there are some tangible realities we can’t escape. For instance, while current industrial choices are pushing all sectors towards electrification, have any concrete plans been made to strengthen the grid? This network is made up of pipes and holes, and maintained by qualified people and complex logistics… It is so much more complex than Excel spreadsheets or fancy forecast graphics. In the Netherlands, the demand for connection of decentralised solar production has exploded, and is 4 to 5 times higher than the growth forecasts for this sector… the grid simply cannot physically absorb this production!

All the scenarios, all the binding targets for 2030 or 2040, are going to be confronted with a very “entrenched” reality, that of our physical limits, which requires us to rethink our needs. Sufficiency will inexorably be at the top of tomorrow’s political agenda, not resulting from an ideological choice, but due to “reality”. It won’t be a matter of common sense, but of “fact”. Given the conflicts of interest over resources, as in the case of water in a number of European regions, future decisions regarding our needs will have to be clarified and debated. Social or European cohesion depends on these debates being as close and as true as possible to the issues of resource consumption.

Sufficiency and local debates are two sides of the same coin to bring the ambitions of “Fit for 55” and the Green Deal to fruition. But we also need a total alignment of all budgetary and fiscal rules to ensure that our ambitions are implemented on the ground, and a complete overhaul of the way the European budget is deployed. The next term could be one of aligning policies and their application in the various regions.

We invite you to come and discuss this in Modena on 18 and 19 October, 2023, so that together we can define the European agenda for the next 2024-2029 term.