Ursula von der Leyen shared a 24-page document outlining her ‘agenda for Europe’. The document listed “A European Green Deal” as the first of six priorities. However, while much of the content of von der Leyen’s political agenda has been welcomed by green groups, questions remain about the details of some of her proposals and the extent of her commitment to others.

Namely, Jeremy Wates, EEB Secretary General, said that:

While mentioning the need for sustainable food and biodiversity standards in agriculture policy, von der Leyen has failed to mention the need for a radical reform of the EU’s €60bn Common Agricultural Policy to reverse its highly damaging impact on nature. Von der Leyen’s failure to unequivocally commit to supporting at least 55% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 leaves her falling short of what the Parliament has already agreed and even further short of what climate science demands. She has failed to put the sustainable development goals at the heart of all the EU does

Von der Leyen’s political guidelines document contains several commitments on climate action including:

  • A climate neutral EU by 2050;
  • An improved ETS;
  • A carbon border tax;
  • A move away from unanimous decision-making on climate and energy;
  • 2030 emission reduction targets of at least 50% and moving ‘towards’ 55%.

In addition, the guidelines also include other notable environmental priorities, such as:

  • €1trn of sustainable finance investment and turning part of the European Investment Bank into Europe’s climate bank;
  • A 2030 biodiversity strategy to stop biodiversity loss within five years;
  • A new circular economy action plan that addresses textiles and construction sectors;
  • A ‘zero-pollution’ target delivered through a cross-cutting strategy to protect citizens’ health from environmental degradation and pollution;
  • A “farm to fork” strategy on sustainable food.

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Ms. Von der Leyen has also promised to use the EU's budget to support the rule of law, which could provide a key tool to ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of EU environmental laws.

Finally, the pledge to a European Green Deal aligns with a call for an ambitious 8th Environmental Action Programme.

Check the European Commission President's political guidelines, in the following PDF