To tackle the arduous challenges our planet and societies face, the new EU Presidency Trio – inaugurated by France in 2022 – must accelerate policies, investments and efforts towards the resilience of our ecosystems, economies, social systems and governance structures, urged the EEB.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has issued Ten Green Tests for the French Council of the EU Presidency and a Dozen Demands for the France-Czechia-Sweden Presidency Trio 2022-2023.
The FR-CZ-SE Presidency Trio starting 1 January 2022 and ending June 2023 will be 18 crucial months to prove and improve the EU’s commitment to tackling the climate, environmental and social crises.
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that we cannot simply go back to ’business-as-usual’ and continue a system that over-exploits the planet without regard for the consequences for current and future generations and flies in the face of clear scientific evidence”, said Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the EEB.
The decisions taken by the EU over the next year and a half will be key to catalyse a system change, step by step, making the European Green Deal (EGD) the transformative agenda Europe needs, he added.
Climate action must be at the forefront of this transformative roadmap since the crises of coronavirus and energy prices have proved that the social-environmental-health agendas are deeply intertwined and must be addressed as such.
“The energy price crisis has underlined how essential it is to break the dependency on fossil fuels, not only for the EU climate goals but also to protect citizens from its volatile market, affected by the interests and influence of energy suppliers”, said Patrick ten Brink, Deputy Secretary General of the EBB.
The health dimension has proven to be deeply connected to environmental concerns – as seen by the inextricable links between health and climate impacts, exposure to air pollution and harmful chemicals, and the health benefits of access to nature.
France will inherit significant legislative and policy responsibilities for this joint environment-health-social agenda, building on the Slovenian, Portuguese and German Presidencies. The next six critical months will see a number of high-profile broad policy dossiers such as the Fit for 55 Package and the Zero Pollution Action Plan.
French leadership is required to promote significant progress on commitments to address the climate and biodiversity crises, to seize opportunities on the circular economy and to advance the rule of law and governance in the EU, as well as to promote global diplomacy on the European Green Deal.
The wider Presidency Trio will lead the EU in several critically important international meetings on biodiversity, sustainable development and others, presenting prime opportunities for the EU to lead and encourage global progress, backed up with real action at home while acknowledging its historical and ongoing responsibility for the crisis.
The EEB calls upon the French Presidency and all Member States to take the Green Ten Tests as environmental benchmarks to ensure that the next six months are a successful step forward in the transition to living within the limits of our one planet.
Looking ahead to the Presidency Trio and building on consultation with its 170+ members, with its wider civil society partnerships and stakeholder discussions, the EEB has developed a series of specific asks across environmental areas. From these, the EEB has extracted a Dozen Demands where ambitious, coordinated Presidency engagement, commitment and solidarity can make a lasting and fundamental difference.