European Green Deal: what it is and how it works

Written on 2 November 2020

Europe’s climate agreement, also known as the European Green Deal, is one of the world’s most important initiatives in the fight against global warming. The European Commission has presented a very detailed action programme, with funding sources already identified for each measure and project, with a total budget of over one trillion euros in public and private investment over the next ten years.


What is the purpose of the European Green Deal?


The European Commission has set itself the goal of turning the EU into a climate-neutral economy by 2050. However far away this date may seem, this is a very limited timeframe for reversing the trend across the West. Achieving this ambitious goal will require huge investments, especially in clean energy technologies and the research that makes them possible and improves them. The intermediate target, which has been set for 2030, is a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

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How are the European Union’s environmental policies financed?

It is precisely to finance these kinds of wide-ranging policies that the EU has a long-term budget and a variety of specially created funds. These include the famous Horizon 2020 fund, the Regional Development Fund, and the many agricultural funds currently available. There are also the investEU funds, into which a great deal of public and private investment will converge, to be channelled in support of the European Green Deal programmes.

Who will benefit from the Union’s environmental policies?

Europe does not have a consistent identity in terms of energy-saving, optimisation, emissions, and investment in sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. While there are some virtuous examples – mainly at a regional rather than national level – that successfully prioritise renewable energies, there are also entire regions that are still heavily dependent on coal for the daily energy needs of their population and industry. The latter would obviously be among the first beneficiaries of energy conversion policies, which would inevitably have the effect of creating jobs, improving life and air quality, and, in general, enhancing public health.

Restructuring skills

The greatest resistance to the conversion of fossil fuel plants usually comes from those who fear that closing the most polluting facilities will result in massive job losses. This is why the European Green Deal funds also include investment in support for workers, to enable them to learn new skills that will place them successfully in future jobs, in a society in which clean energy can generate as many jobs as the old fossil-fuel plants. Besides, all the skills involved in quality control and safety checks on new plants, not to mention their construction, must be taken into account. Even if the costs are not insignificant in the initial phase (supported by European funds), in the long run, the economies of the countries involved will benefit from the renewed global energy management.