The Green Deal is here to stay - EU party survey

Posted on 20 March 2024

A new WWF survey shows there is political will to address the biodiversity and climate emergencies.
Based on the responses to a survey sent to European political parties, the “WWF’s EU elections check” assesses where they stand on critical nature and climate issues. While all responding parties agree on prioritising the environment, there is no consensus on how quickly this should happen.

“The consensus on the importance of continuing and prioritising the EU Green Deal is a major step forward. However, the results raise concerns over the genuine political will behind the commitments to the EU Green Deal and whether these promises will materialise into the swift, tangible action required to combat climate change and reverse biodiversity loss. This cross-party consensus must be reflected in the decisions that the parties will take after 9 June, such as the Strategic Agenda and the programme of the next European Commission,” said Tycho Vandermaesen, Policy & Strategy Director at WWF European Policy Office.

In anticipation of the 2024 EU elections, WWF reached out to European political parties to gauge their stances on environmental and climate issues, comparing their responses with our recommendations for tackling the climate and biodiversity crises. Six European parties agreed to respond to the survey, while the European People's Party (EPP), the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and the Identity and Democracy (ID) abstained. To provide as exhaustive an analysis as possible, WWF also examined positions expressed in the EPP’s published manifesto and recent position papers. Unfortunately, this approach could not be extended to the ECR or ID, as these parties have yet to release any manifestos for the 2024 EU elections.

The “WWF’s EU elections check” highlights a unanimous endorsement across parties, including in the EPP’s manifesto, for furthering the EU Green Deal, marking it as a top priority for the next term. Combating climate change is a critical concern for all six responding parties, as demonstrated by the shared support for ending fossil fuel use, transitioning to 100% renewable energy, and adopting nature-based solutions to tackle climate change. Furthermore, all responding parties commit to increase funding for nature conservation and enforce environmental laws such as the Water Framework Directive or the Common Fisheries Policy. Finally, there is a unanimous agreement among responding parties on the need to create new large-scale EU investment programmes to support a green transition that leaves no-one behind.

However, the devil is in the details. A closer look at the parties’ answers and the EPP’s manifesto reveal disparities when it comes to pledging specific, actionable measures. The responding parties express divergent views on the timeline for reaching climate neutrality, with few of them recognising the need to achieve it by 2040. Many of them also give vague commitments on phasing out fossil fuels and reallocating subsidies that are harming the environment. 

Tycho Vandermaesen, Policy & Strategy Director at WWF European Policy Office added: “We urgently call for an open, science-led discussion, emphasising the need for policies informed by the latest scientific knowledge and overall policy coherence. Policymakers must recognise the interconnectedness of our environmental challenges and ensure their actions are evidence-based.”

With the window for effective action on the climate and biodiversity crises narrowing, the forthcoming EU elections present an opportunity for voters to influence the Union's commitment to a sustainable future, demanding more than lip service to the EU Green Deal from their future representatives. 


Notes to editor

In December 2023, WWF identified key actions that our political leaders should implement in the next political term, to make our society and economy more resilient, and to stop the climate and biodiversity crises. A few months later, WWF EU sent a questionnaire to the ten EU political parties running for the 2024 EU elections to assess their position regarding our key proposals.

Six European parties agreed to respond to the survey. While the European People's Party (EPP), the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and the Identity and Democracy (ID) abstained, the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) explicitly declined to participate. To provide as exhaustive an analysis as possible, WWF examined positions expressed in the EPP’s published manifesto and recent position papers. Unfortunately, this approach could not be extended to the ECR or ID, as these parties have yet to release any manifestos for the 2024 EU elections.

Contact:
Camille Gilissen
cgilissen@wwf.eu
Communications Officer, EU elections
+32 473 56 37 75
 
European citizens will cast their votes on 9 June.
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