Leaked EU Draft Strategy: Climate Change No Longer Top Priority

  • Date: 14/06/19
  • EurActiv

As things stand, climate change and green policies are only billed third in the draft plan, after migration and “Developing our economic base”


EU Council President Donald Tusk has coordinated the drafting of the strategic agenda. [Photo: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock]

EU leaders want to focus on migration and protection of external borders, or the “integrity of our physical space”, over the next five years, according to a draft of the so-called strategic agenda obtained by EURACTIV. Economy and climate action rank second and third.

In the draft strategy for 2019-2024, meant to guide the work of the EU institutions, national leaders prioritise migration policy over other areas, while strengthening the economy, fighting climate change and taking Europe global also feature.

In the top-billed area of “Protecting citizens and freedoms”, the agenda insists that effective border controls are “an absolute prerequisite” for maintaining rule and order, and adds that other EU policies rely on it….

The strategic agenda is set to be tweaked further during Council meetings on 11, 13 and 17 June, ahead of a full leaders summit on 20 and 21 June.

Green washed

As things stand, climate change and green policies are only billed third in the draft plan, after migration and “Developing our economic base”. That is despite climate action featuring heavily in national elections this year in the likes of Denmark, Finland and Spain.

The agenda acknowledges that policies must match commitments made under the Paris Agreement and that Europe’s economy should cut its emissions enough to achieve ‘climate neutrality’.

But the strategy stops short of putting a date on when the EU should be collectively absorbing more emissions than it is creating, which continues to be a stumbling block in talks between member states.

Climate neutrality by 2050 has the backing of the Commission, the European Parliament and roughly 12 countries but scepticism still prevents the striking of an agreement.

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