EU elections: Will 2019 be the year of climate action?

(EurActiv, 23 May 2019) Climate change is now a top priority for EU voters, so where do the parities stand when it comes to climate action? Elisa Giannelli, explores.

Elisa Giannelli is a researcher at E3G, an independent think-tank operating to accelerate the global transition to a low carbon economy.

In this week’s EU elections, climate change is now a top priority for voters. It has thus become a defining issue for most of the candidates running for the Presidency of the next European Commission.

Political programmes and debates in the current electoral campaign make the future of the European climate agenda look promising. Compared to the 2014 electoral campaign, when environmental issues were solely kept to the left-side of the plenary, climate change has now become a mainstream topic.

At a time when Eurosceptic and populist voices are largely reported to be threatening the Union’s stability and strength however, what impact could the next generation of European leaders have on democracy and climate action?

The European People’s Party (EPP) has typically been cautious and moderate when talking about climate and energy, often conditioning environmental protection to economic growth and benefits.

Now, the EPP is taking a more pro-active approach in their manifesto. They’ve committed to improving the European Trading System (ETS) to limit CO2 emissions, investing in technology and innovation and building a secure Energy Union.

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EurActiv, 23 May 2019: EU elections: Will 2019 be the year of climate action?