EU Leaders at the special Council on the next long-term EU budget failed to agree an EU budget for 2021 - 27. Budget negotiations are never easy, but NGO disappointment is commensurate to the initial excitement about the launch of the European Green Deal that vows to reconcile climate, biodiversity and other EU policies at home and abroad.
A focus on EU external actions was sorely missing from summit discussions, as were the financial resources needed to protect biodiversity, including forests, and to tackle the climate emergency.
As EU ambitions grow and citizen’s expectations expand, it is important to allocate adequate resources and political support to the EU’s international role. Member States need to regroup and follow the impetus given by the Commission and the Parliament, especially regarding the European Green Deal. The credibility of the ‘geopolitical commission’ is at stake, as is the EU’s standing as a global player.
EU NGOs have a simple ask, that the European Green Deal also support countries in the global South to address the climate and biodiversity crises.
- Raising the EU’s domestic ambition to reduce emissions and its global footprint;
- Pushing for a people- and planet-focused financial architecture and stronger support for countries to protect and restore their forests, and upgrading climate commitments;
- Strengthening participation of civil society and putting human rights and the needs of vulnerable groups at the heart of environmental and development efforts.
Expectations are high for the EU to deliver its green vision. But this can happen only if political and budget commitments go hand in hand.