European Commission announces Green New Deal

Thursday, 12 December 2019

The European Union plans to eliminate its contributions to climate change by 2050. On Wednesday (11 December 2019), the European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled a plan to zero out the EU's contributions to climate change and transform Europe’s economy. 

In addition to creating national climate and energy plans for each EU member state, the EU Green Deal strategy contains a total of 50 policy measures, including:

  • a legally binding target of reducing EU emissions to net zero by 2050; 
  • a carbon border tax to prevent companies from relocating outside the EU to avoid climate legislation; 
  • a €100 billion just transition fund to help spread the burden and help coal-reliant regions; and
  • a policy to not conclude any free trade agreement with a country that is not a signatory to the Paris climate agreement. 

The political declaration needs unanimous approval by all 28 EU countries, but Eastern European countries, in particular Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland are worried that it will cause them economic damage and have been hold-outs to the deal. Poland in particular remains heavily reliant on coal.

To this end, transition fund mentioned above was proposed. However, the binding targets for the 2050 targets only requires a qualified majority of EU countries meaning Poland would lose veto power. In this scenario, the funding on offer would likely decrease drastically.