Motion for a resolution - B9-0041/2020Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the European Green Deal

10.1.2020 - (2019/2956(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Alexandr Vondra, Anna Zalewska
on behalf of the ECR Group

Procedure : 2019/2956(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the European Green Deal


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 entitled ‘The European Green Deal’ (COM(2019)0640) and its annex,

 having regard to the European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019,

 having regard to the special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’, its fifth assessment report (AR5) and the synthesis report thereon, its special report on climate change and land, and its special report on the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate,

 having regard to the massive threat of loss of biodiversity described in the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) of 31 May 2019,

 having regard to the Paris Agreement (Decision 1/CP.21) of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and to the 11th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP11), held in Paris, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

 having regard to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP24), the 14th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP14), and the third part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1.3), held in Katowice, Poland, from 2 to 14 December 2018, and the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP25), the 15th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP15), and the second session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA2), held in Madrid, Spain, from 2 to 15 December 2019,

 having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

 having regard to the Silesia Declaration on Solidarity and Just Transition, adopted at the start of COP24,

 having regard to the European Environment Agency (EEA) report of 4 December 2019 on ‘The European environment — state and outlook 2020: knowledge for transition to a sustainable Europe’,

 having regard to the independent scientific report of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of 24 September 2019 entitled ‘Scientific Advice to European Policy in a Complex World’ (scientific opinion No. 7),

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Article 15, Paragraph 1 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states that ‘the European Council shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and shall define the general political directions and priorities thereof’;

B. whereas in October 2014 the Member States agreed unanimously on the EU’s climate and energy targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % by 2030 compared to 1990, of ensuring at least a 32 % share for renewable energy, and of improving energy efficiency by at least 32.5 %;

C. whereas the Commission presented the European Green Deal on 11 December 2019 and established the EU’s key political aims and objectives before the European Council had reached a consensus on the objective of climate neutrality;

D. whereas it is essential that the EU acts in a unified and consensual manner when striving to achieve its climate objectives, taking the concerns of lower-income Member States that are still dependent on fossil fuels into full account;

E. whereas the European Green Deal sets out targets and a roadmap to make the EU the first region to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 that go beyond the greenhouse gas reduction timeline laid down in the Paris Agreement;

F. whereas the EEA estimates that the Member States’ existing 2030 reduction commitments will lead to a 36 % reduction in emissions, falling short of the 40 % target; whereas the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU will reduce this figure to less than 34 %; whereas under these circumstances, reaching a reduction of 50 % or more seems highly implausible and will require an unprecedented level of investment;

G. whereas achieving climate neutrality will involve substantial economic diversification and transformation and significant changes to business models and domestic policymaking; whereas these changes will create new opportunities, but also major socio-economic challenges in many regions and industrial sectors;

H. whereas these effects will be spread unevenly across the EU, creating winners and losers; whereas this justifies the need for a robust and comprehensive Just Transition Fund and supporting mechanism to ensure that ‘nobody is left behind’;

I. whereas the results of COP25 proved there are still many challenges to be tackled globally before the Paris Agreement can deliver a substantial global reduction in greenhouse gases emissions; whereas the EU still needs to protect its industries against unfair competition from regions with less stringent climate commitments;

J. whereas each Member State maintains its right to ‘determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply’ (Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union);

1. Takes note of the Commission’s communication on the European Green Deal and welcomes its objective to make the EU’s economy more sustainable; acknowledges that the communication contains a challenging set of initiatives to facilitate the low-carbon transition, while committing to work constructively towards achieving a better environmental status and preserving jobs, economic competitiveness and wellbeing;

2. Expresses concern that the Commission’s decision to present such an ambitious and wide-ranging plan within such a short timescale places political expediency ahead of robust impact assessment; notes that the proposed legislative schedule may negatively affect the credibility and value of European evidence-based policymaking and the generation of the financial resources necessary to achieve its proposed goals;

3. Underlines concerns that the policy breadth of the European Green Deal, which seeks to jointly address economic, social and environmental challenges and has far-reaching consequences on many sectors, may contribute to competence creep, undermining the EU’s principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and the flexibility clause (Article 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), to the detriment of the decision-making authority of the Member States;

4. Believes that development can only be considered sustainable when society, the environment and the economy are each given equal priority in public policymaking;

5. Believes that the low-carbon transition has the potential to create new jobs in emerging industries and using emerging technologies, but that it may also incur social costs and job losses in conventional industrial and energy sectors, often disproportionately affecting the most experienced workers; believes that the low-carbon transformation must be socially acceptable and ensure access to decent employment in those economies still dependent on fossil fuels;

6. Denounces any decision by the Commission which seeks to overhaul recently enacted legislation that is yet to be fully implemented, as this will undermine the legal and regulatory certainty of the environmental acquis;

7. Calls on the Commission to fully utilise the innovation principle in the preparation of legislation under the European Green Deal; notes that this will ensure that new policy proposals support innovation and facilitate a more innovation-friendly regulatory framework;

8. Strongly welcomes the Commission’s commitment to apply the ‘one in, one out’ principle whereby each legislative proposal creating new burdens should relieve people and businesses of an equivalent existing burden at the EU level in the same policy area;

9. Stresses that political decision-making on legislative measures must be undertaken in a coordinated fashion and expresses strong concerns that without full political consensus, individual proposals within the package could become subject to escalations in ambition and threaten the attainment of the overall objectives of the European Green Deal; underlines the need for effective coordination of all relevant measures in order to ensure they act in concert in meeting the headline goals and do not conflict with other legislative aims when implemented;

10. Cautions that while polls such as Eurobarometer’s Climate Survey demonstrate support for general or unspecified climate actions, often the costs or shifts in lifestyle borne by individuals in order to effect those actions are not clearly specified; considers, therefore, that popular support may be ‘soft’ and that when exposed to the scale of change associated with the European Green Deal, the views of many EU citizens may change if they do not receive adequate support; underlines the importance of ensuring popular support for all of the actions outlined in the European Green Deal, based upon accurate and honest assessments of their likely impacts and expected costs;

11. Recognises its institutional responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint; proposes to adopt its own measures to reduce emissions, including replacing its fleet vehicles with zero-emission vehicles, and urgently calls on all the Member States to agree to a single seat for the European Parliament;

Increasing the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050

12. Notes that the EU recently adopted laws to implement the 40 % greenhouse gas reduction target agreed unanimously by the European Council in 2014, and is still in the process of implementing the relevant legislation; expresses therefore, firm misgivings about the political and economic feasibility of the Commission’s intention to increase the 2030 reduction target less than six years later;

13. Recalls the assessment of the Juncker Commission, which concluded that the full implementation of existing climate laws would lead to a 45 % reduction in emissions by 2030, without a formal change to the target; is deeply concerned, however, about the EEA’s conflicting assessment that the EU’s climate policies will only lead to a 36 % emission reduction by 2030, and that this figure could be as low as 34 % following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU;

14. Opposes any immediate increase in the EU’s current Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement as the EU still needs to implement laws based on the current binding target to cut emissions by at least 40 % compared to 1990 levels by 2030 (i.e. the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) Phase IV (2021-30), the Effort Sharing Regulation etc.); notes that any proposal to increase the EU’s emission reduction targets must be based on a comprehensive impact assessment to evaluate all associated risks, and be aligned with the Paris Agreement’s cycle of planning, implementing and reviewing progress on the Parties’ NDCs;

15. Calls on the Von der Leyen Commission to take into consideration the conclusions of the previous Commission, which declined to increase the EU’s 2030 reduction target, and reconsider its approach, as we are concerned that this significant upward increase will be based on unreliable evidence, leading to serious economic and social problems in many regions, and exposing EU industries to competition from regions with significantly lower environmental standards;

16. Believes that a plan to increase the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to at least 50 %, or possibly even 55 %, will require unprecedented financial investment and changes to economic models that will benefit higher-income Member States, possibly at the expense of poorer Member States that are still largely dependent on cohesion policy funding;

17. Supports the aims and objectives of the Paris Agreement, including that of reaching climate neutrality in the second half of this century; is of the opinion that all Parties to the Paris Agreement should strive to achieve this goal as early as possible;

18. Underlines its concern that the Commission has already committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 without conducting a comprehensive impact assessment or making a detailed plan to finance it (including provisions for a just transition), and without waiting for the European Council to fulfil its role in establishing the EU’s long-term political direction as provided for in Article 15 of the TEU;

19. Believes that the EU can only achieve long-term goals, such as climate neutrality, if it acts in a consensual manner; is of the opinion, therefore, that the concerns of all the Member States, as well as their regions, local authorities, industries and civil society, should be taken into account;

20. Takes note of the Commission’s intention to propose a carbon border adjustment mechanism; stresses that this is only one possible tool among several potential policies that could be introduced to address carbon leakage, but that its impact needs to be thoroughly evaluated; highlights, therefore, that a carbon border tax proposal, which should be a last resort if an international agreement remains unfeasible, should be fully WTO-compatible and accompanied by a thorough impact assessment with several other fully assessed policy options looking into the effects on potentially affected sectors and products, the EU’s competitiveness and broader trade implications and repercussions;

21. Notes that if the EU achieves its aim of becoming the first carbon-neutral continent before 2050, it will only have a marginal effect on global emissions (approximately 9 %); believes that it is therefore imperative that other major economies fulfil their commitments under the Paris Agreement in order to achieve climate neutrality during the second half of this century; believes that the EU must prioritise good law-making, meeting its existing commitments under the Paris Agreement and leveraging its diplomatic influence to deepen third-country cooperation, thereby raising ambition globally;

Supplying clean, affordable and secure energy

22. Stresses that achieving the climate and energy targets for 2030 and 2050 must not undermine the right of each Member State to determine its energy mix, and should respect the principle of technological neutrality;

23. Believes that nuclear energy can play a role in meeting climate objectives because it does not emit greenhouse gases, and can also ensure a significant share of electricity production in the EU; considers, nevertheless, that due to the waste it produces, this energy requires a medium- and long-term strategy that takes into account technological advances (laser, fusion, etc.) aimed at improving the sustainability of the entire sector; urges the Commission, in this regard, to consider the indispensable role played by nuclear energy as a low-carbon solution when preparing secondary legislation under the framework to facilitate sustainable investment;

24. Stresses that natural gas must also become an essential energy source if the EU is to achieve its ambitious climate objectives; recalls its important role as a ‘bridge fuel’ that significantly reduces particle and CO2 emissions and is as an enabling element for the large-scale deployment of renewables well beyond 2030; is concerned at the decision of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to no longer finance unabated natural gas projects;

25. Expresses support for the fourth list of projects of common interest, which contains a number of essential gas projects with a view to developing a well-connected and shock-resilient gas grid for the EU and its neighbourhood;

26. Underlines that according to the International Energy Agency, reducing methane emissions from gas sector activities is one of the five main global opportunities for mitigating greenhouse gases in order to meet the ambitious 2 ºC target, and that half of those emissions could be avoided or reduced at zero net cost; recalls that the gas sector has made significant progress in limiting methane emissions in Europe, with methane emissions down by 61 % compared to 1990 levels, while gas consumption has increased by 25 %;

27. Welcomes the Commission’s intention to prepare guidelines to assist the Member States in addressing the issue of energy poverty, a profound issue across the EU, which is particularly prevalent in eastern and southern Member States; draws attention to the fact that there are different causes of energy poverty, which vary across the EU and include energy prices, falling household incomes and energy-inefficient homes, and that expert opinions on how to tackle the problem diverge significantly; recalls that according to estimates, between EUR 55 and 110 billion in investment would be needed to solve the problem of energy inefficiency in low-income households alone;

28. Stresses that free allowance allocations must continue to be awarded to district heating programmes under the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) as they offer affordable heating for citizens, decrease pollution from less efficient sources of heat and produce energy in an efficient manner through co-generation;

Mobilising industry for a clean and circular economy

29. Notes that in some industries, greenhouse gas emissions are an inevitable part of the production process, and that there are currently no commercially viable zero-emission technologies; stresses that energy-intensive industries are a critical part of the EU’s economy, accounting for more than 6 million direct jobs and being responsible for multiple value chains;

30. Calls, therefore, for a new and integrated EU industrial strategy for energy-intensive industries in order to complete the transition to a low-carbon economy in the EU; recalls the role that public policy will play in bolstering industrial innovation through modernisation and rationalisation, leading to a reduction in the capital costs of low-carbon projects and the creation of new low-carbon products; agrees with the Commission that energy-intensive industries such as steel manufacturing are indispensable, and urges it to adopt a coherent strategic approach to their management in order to secure sector-wide growth and employment;

31. Urges the Commission to put forward a proposal, as soon as possible, based on the European Chemicals Agency’s proposed restriction on intentional uses of microplastics in products placed on the EU market to avoid or reduce their release into the environment;

32. Considers that facilitating and encouraging the repair of products could be beneficial, both in order to extend the lifetime of products and to grow secondary markets in product repair and the supply of spare parts; notes the positive efforts made recently in the automotive sector to support a vibrant independent repair sector and considers that this model could be replicated in sectors where products lend themselves to repair;

33. Considers a circular economy to be essential to a successful climate policy due to the high greenhouse gas emissions from material consumption throughout the various phases in a linear economy’s value chain (e.g. the extraction, production, transport, use and disposal of materials); welcomes, therefore, the fact that the Commission will present a new action plan, including a sustainable products initiative and a particular focus on resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, construction, electronics and plastics; expects that this action plan will be critical to the development of new policies promoting circular production and consumption models throughout the entire value chain;

34. Believes that built-in obsolescence is severely detrimental to consumers and conflicts with their expectations of longer-lasting and more efficient products; recalls that product durability and periods of support, including for digital goods, was specifically addressed in recently adopted consumer legislation; invites the Commission to assess the impact of those new measures and to propose further obligations where shown to be necessary;

35. Underlines the fact that new business models emerging in the collaborative economy have the potential to support greener economic choices, including connecting people with products that they can rent or share with others, meaning that they no longer need to buy their own products; considers, moreover, that the growth of digital services has enabled consumers to be more discerning, including as regards environmental impacts; believes that such services should be encouraged and national regulatory obstacles removed to enable their provision across the Member States;

36. Emphasises the possible positive benefits of e-labelling, which can allow easy and simple access to regulatory information, including compliance with applicable product requirements or standards, details on composition and access to repair and end-of-life guidance and calls on the Commission to introduce e-labelling for suitable products, including regulated products; considers that savings can be made by removing the need for paper manuals and other associated documentation that currently accompanies products;

37. Considers that the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has supported the development of a common market for construction products within the EU, but that difficulties remain; notes that delays and failures in standardisation have hindered the implementation of harmonised requirements and calls on the Commission to address this prior to implementing further measures; underlines that the CPR can support more sustainable choices when effectively implemented; recalls that, unlike forecasts, the CPR has increased compliance costs and has been particularly difficult for small and micro-enterprises to comply with; urges the Commission to bear in mind the difficulties of implementation when considering any deeper review of the CPR and its obligations;

Accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility

38. Expresses concerns regarding the fact that the recently reached provisional agreement on Mobility Package I, particularly the requirement to return heavy goods vehicles to the Member State of establishment every eight weeks, contradicts both the purpose of the Commission’s initial legislative proposals to reduce negative environmental effects and the EU climate goals set out by the Commission in the new European Green Deal, including the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, as this requirement would result in a notable increase in the number of empty lorry runs on EU roads and, along with the restrictions on cabotage operations, would lead to a substantial increase in CO2 emissions, pollution and congestion caused by the transport sector; recalls that the requirement to return heavy goods vehicles was not part of the Commission’s proposals and has not been the subject of an impact assessment, and therefore urges the Commission to take immediate steps, including a full impact assessment, to remove this requirement, in order to resolve related inconsistencies and contradictions in all relevant EU legislation and policies;

39. Expresses reservations about the ‘one size fits all’ approach in relation to toll charges for heavy goods vehicles (Eurovignette Directive) and the Commission’s ambition to widen the scope of the aforementioned directive with a view to making toll charges more consistent across the road transport sector and insists that the Member States’ should maintain their right to tailor their toll charging policies and the possibility of continuing to offer time-based passes;

40. Underlines the importance of increasing the share of low-emission transport modes, such as inland waterways, maritime transport and rail, and underlines the necessity of increasing the capacity of railways and inland waterways and providing adequate last-mile access and rail connections with interconnecting rail infrastructure at inland waterway terminals, as well as transport hubs in port catchment areas; stresses that combined transport must become an effective and functional tool of the European single freight transport market, supporting multimodal freight operations;

41. Opposes attempts to extend the EU ETS to road transport as this sector already has standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and including it in the EU ETS could lead to excessive, onerous regulation and a potentially heavy financial burden on consumers;

42. Expresses concern at the Commission’s plans to revaluate the tax exemption for aviation fuels, which may conflict with the terms of Article 24 of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), which established the legal framework for international civil aviation; notes that the exemption of airlines from national taxes and customs duties on a range of aviation-related goods, including parts, stores and fuel is a standard element of bilateral air service agreements between individual countries; stresses that without a global agreement on taxing aviation fuel, it is very likely that moves to impose duties on international flights (either at the domestic or EU level), would encourage ‘tankering’, whereby carriers fill their aircraft as full as possible whenever they land outside the EU to avoid paying tax; believes that if a tax on aviation fuel is to be introduced, it must be done on a worldwide scale and reflect the size and fuel efficiency of the aircraft;

From farm to fork: designing a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system

43. Highlights the vital contribution of the EU agricultural sector to ensuring food security, maintaining the EU’s rural areas and providing for environmental care; underlines that economic, ecological and social sustainability need to be safeguarded in the new common agricultural policy and the Farm to Fork Strategy, with modernisation and access to research and innovation as a cross-cutting objective; stresses the need for a bottom-up approach involving farmers of all generations, with special attention to young farmers, adequate financial compensation and incentives to win-win solutions, taking into account local circumstances;

44. Calls on the Commission to ensure that EU farmers have access to the best available tools, such as new techniques for plant breeding and precision farming; expresses concern about the protracted pace at which tools are currently being made accessible and calls on the Commission to prioritise the assessment of new techniques and products, sustained by scientific advice, and to update legislation where necessary to ensure that farmers have access to those tools;

45. Calls for a level playing field for the agricultural sector and calls on the Commission to carefully assess the coherence of proposals under the European Green Deal with trade policies, in order to ensure that the viability of the European agricultural sector is not undermined by unfair competition stemming from unequal standards for production;

46. Stresses the need for all levels in the food chain, as well as the consumer, to contribute to sustainable food systems by reducing waste and maximising the amount of produce used as food and feed; asks the Commission to continue efforts to improve the bargaining position of the primary producer to ensure that the additional costs associated with sustainability initiatives can be recouped when products are placed on the market;

47. Underlines that arbitrary use reductions for plant protection products (PPPs) do not benefit pollinator health or the agricultural sector; notes that under the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (Directive 2009/128/EC), Member States have already piloted and abandoned reduction targets in their national action plans (i.e. Denmark), as this approach does not reflect the complexity of managing pests and diseases under varying local conditions using integrated pest management;

48. Stresses the importance of a science-based approach in authorising active substances, transparency and effective risk communication to ensure the acceptability of risk management decisions and consumer trust;

49. Calls on the Commission to improve its external communication in order to inform the public in an appropriate and easily understandable way about the need for PPPs in the production of safe and affordable food alongside any proven impact on human health and the environment; notes that this should include an explanation of the difference between hazard and risk, acceptable risks and established safe uses, and contextualise the hazards and risks of PPP use with other household chemicals and substances; recommends that this information be easily accessible and informs users of possible risk mitigation measures;

50. Stresses the potential for sustainable seafood to contribute to a Farm to Fork strategy on sustainable food; calls for a zero tolerance approach to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; stresses the need to improve the control procedure and the compliance of imports of fisheries and aquaculture products with EU legislation;

Preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity

51. Notes with concern that, as indicated in the IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report, nature is declining globally at an unprecedented rate and the rate of extinction is accelerating; welcomes, therefore, the Commission’s intention to present an ambitious biodiversity strategy by March 2020 – to be followed up by specific action in 2021 – setting out the EU’s position with a view to playing a leading role at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) due to take place in October 2020 in Kunming, China, with global targets to protect biodiversity and new measurable objectives to address the primary causes of biodiversity loss within the EU;

52. Notes that pollution, urban expansion, soil sealing and the destruction of habitats are major causes of biodiversity destruction; recalls that the IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services shows that the surface of urban areas has doubled since 1992; calls on the Commission to conduct an assessment of the role of urban areas and cities in the preservation of biodiversity for use in schemes such as the urban agenda for the EU, to assist in the development of policies for the protection of biodiversity;

53. Calls on the Commission to propose a comprehensive set of measures based on due diligence to limit the EU’s consumption footprint on land, including legislation, which will ensure sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains for products placed on the EU market, as well as an action plan on palm oil;

54. Underlines that forestry and agroforestry services, which benefit the climate and biodiversity, is the competence of the Member States; notes the importance of building on the expertise of forest owners when promoting sustainable management and the efficient use of raw materials;

55. Supports the development of the blue economy as it contributes to overall economic growth, particularly in coastal regions and islands;

56. Stresses the importance of using some of the available funding to mitigate the impacts and risks of hydrological instability, seismic activity, coastal erosion and shoreline stability, which have become more prevalent in the last two decades;

A zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment

57. Awaits the outcome of the Commission’s fitness check on endocrine disruptors, which will contribute to the wider assessment of whether EU chemicals legislation is delivering on its objective of protecting human health and the environment by minimising exposure to these substances; notes that although criteria for identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are already established under legislation on PPPs and biocides, there is a need for caution in the development and application of harmonised criteria in other fields given that they must encompass legislation banning the use of EDCs, legislation that permits authorisation subject to strict requirements and legislation that does not explicitly refer to EDCs, but regulates them through general provisions;

58. Underlines that the transition to a circular economy will require, where possible, the phasing out of substances of concern, so as to ensure the development of non-toxic material cycles, which will facilitate recycling and will be essential to the establishment of a functioning secondary raw materials market;

59. Urges the Commission to build on the strategic approach to risks posed by pharmaceuticals under the Water Framework Directive and prepare a legislative proposal on tackling the leaking of pharmaceuticals into the environment, both as a result of the manufacturing process and the use and disposal of medicines;

Financing the European Green Deal and ensuring a just transition

60. Expects the budgetary means over the next financial programming period to be commensurate with the plans outlined in the European Green Deal; reaffirms the need to keep a strong focus on European added value as a guiding principle; rejects cuts to cohesion policy, which will undermine the EU’s principal investment instrument for financing jobs and growth, creating territorial convergence and advancing development at the regional level;

61. Insists on setting clearer objectives and focusing on a smaller number of higher quality performance indicators defining and tracking expenditure related to climate action and addressing biodiversity loss;

62. Is concerned that the proposed revenue streams for greening contributions to the EU budget could lead to imbalances; supports the current system of national contributions and stresses that the gross national income (GNI) contribution is the fairest own resource as it is based on the economic capacity of each Member State; reiterates that taxation is a sovereign competence of the Member States;

63. Acknowledges the crucial role of the EU financial institutions in enabling the green transition; takes note, in this regard, that the EIB has doubled its 2025 climate target from 25 % to 50 %; reaffirms its regret, however, that the EIB’s new investment policy limits support for gas, which remains a key enabling energy source for fossil-fuel-dependent Member States;

64. Urges the Commission to carefully assess any potential drawbacks from facilitating selective investments, including provisions that loosen capital requirements in order to allocate more funds to green assets; calls on the Commission to take a more structured and coherent approach to limit the risk of stranded assets;

65. Reiterates that adequate financial support must be provided to affected coal- and carbon-intensive regions during the energy transition; stresses that not all regions are starting from the same point in their transition to a climate-neutral economy, not all regions have the same tools and not all regions will suffer the consequences equally; underlines, therefore, that a transition that takes into account the particularities of the most vulnerable regions, populations and sectors is essential; welcomes the EIB’s decision to lend up to 75 % of the value of projects related to the just transition to the poorest Member States;

66. Calls on the Commission to ensure that the new Just Transition Fund consists of additional resources on top of those allocated for cohesion policy funds; notes that just transition investments should be excluded when national deficits are assessed under the Stability and Growth Pact, allowing public authorities to invest in services and infrastructure instead;

67. Calls on the Commission to ensure the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the transitions, paying particular attention to the most disadvantaged regions, areas affected by industrial transition (principally coal mining regions and areas dependent on carbon-intensive industries such as steel manufacturing), sparsely populated areas and environmentally vulnerable territories;

Mobilising research and fostering innovation

68. Stresses the role research and innovation must play in delivering the transition to the low-carbon economy; underlines that research and innovation, including frontier research, can support all sectors of the economy and that the deployment of new technologies, even if not directly related to environmental impacts, can have positive spillover effects that contribute to the transition;

69. Emphasises the need for research and innovation policies to expand access to and promote the availability of climate-neutral energy supplies, at globally competitive prices; underlines, in this regard, the necessity of industrial-scale demonstrations of breakthrough technologies, including ‘clean coal’, and the need to drive the development and market uptake of carbon capture and storage projects; encourages the Commission and the Member States to support large-scale pilot projects that aim to prove the viability of a clean technology within a timescale of five to ten years, and to foster their large-scale deployment thereafter;

70. Underlines the vital role that Horizon Europe plays as an enabler of innovation and research in the EU and the potential of the programme to help bring new technologies onto the market; considers it important that this capacity is deepened and further utilised so as to support the transition to a low-carbon economy; calls on the Commission to further strengthen collaboration between public research and industrial market actors in order to continue to drive the practical application of innovative techniques and to foster the rapid deployment of new technologies;

71. Underscores the need for coordination between Horizon Europe and other EU programmes in order to avoid overlaps; also considers it important that within the strategic plan of Horizon Europe there is a strong degree of internal coordination and complimentary actions involving partnerships, missions, and knowledge and innovation communities, so as to exploit the benefits and efficiencies of collaborative working;

72. Reiterates the need for a focus in the strategic plan of Horizon Europe on strategies and low-emission technologies aiming to revitalise coal- and carbon-intensive transition areas;

73. Draws attention to the key role of the Innovation Fund and the Modernisation Fund within the EU ETS and calls for an increase in the number of allowances allocated to them, if available;

‘Do no harm’ - Mainstreaming sustainability in all EU policies

74. Considers that public procurement can be an important driver and notes that the Commission will consider ways to facilitate green public purchasing; believes that sustainable criteria have a role to play in public procurement decision-making, in particular where they support an efficient use of taxpayer money over a longer term;

75. Notes that the Commission’s pending proposal for an 8th Environmental Action Programme should align with the European Green Deal and facilitate the achievement of the SDGs in order to deliver results and ensure predictable and coordinated action in relation to the EU’s environment and climate change policies;

76. Recalls the important role that the precautionary principle plays in the development of EU policies; notes that the Commission’s approach to its application has been shown to be adequate and believes, therefore, that no revision is required in order to ensure that measures under the European Green Deal are consistent with this principle;

The EU as a global leader

77. Notes that, in order to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, the EU must collaborate with the other signatories as it will not be able to effectively tackle the challenges of environmental degradation and climate change on its own; emphasises that the EU, in close cooperation with the Member States, must engage with third countries, especially the G20 economies, which produce approximately 80 % of global greenhouse gas emissions;

78. Supports the proposals for a green agenda for the Western Balkans; believes that this, as part of the broader enlargement process, will contribute to the ability of the pre-accession countries to apply the acquis in the fields of energy, climate, agriculture, transport and the environment;

79. Stresses the importance of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy, especially in the light of the continent’s enormous potential to safeguard biodiversity and limit greenhouse gas emissions; is of the opinion that any strategy must improve the health and well-being of local societies;

80. Insists on maintaining a strategic dialogue with China, particularly in preparation for this year’s EU-China summit in Leipzig and the CBD COP15; stresses, however, the detrimental role played by China during the negotiations at the COP25 in Madrid, especially as regards the transparency of emission reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement;

81. Recognises that global climate and environmental challenges may become a source of conflict, leading to food insecurity and migration flows that may also affect the EU and its Member States; believes, therefore, that the European Green Deal should also encompass the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy;


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82. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


Last updated: 13 January 2020
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