Parliament gives “green (deal) light” to new Commission

Posted on 27 November 2019

With its vote today, the European Parliament gave the green light to the von der Leyen Commission and its collective ambition to put in place a European Green Deal in 2020, within the first 100 days of the European Commission’s time in office. More than six months after the EU elections, the new European Commission can now finally get to work.

"Today’s vote has given the official start signal for the von der Leyen Commission, and we expect to see immediate action to put its promises into action. The European Green Deal - which to date is merely a concept - must now be filled with content, with a focus on accelerated climate action in the short term up to 2030 driven by an ambitious EU climate law, and strict and binding commitments on biodiversity to jump start the restoration of nature across Europe,” said Ester Asin, Director of the WWF European Policy Office. “We also expect the Commission to apply their ‘zero tolerance’ commitment, holding to account those Member States that do not respect long-standing EU environmental laws.”

During and following the election campaign, WWF had set out a number of recommendations for the new mandate, many of which are now reflected in the programme and priorities of this Commission, including a call for a European Sustainability Pact, which is now taking shape in the form of the European Green Deal. WWF had also insisted on the need for a Vice-President leading on climate action and nature, now reflected in the responsibility of Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans. 


However, WWF continues to oppose the “One in, one out” mechanism proposed by Commission President Von der Leyen, which risks creating a chilling effect on much needed new initiatives, and ultimately undermine the ambitions of a European Green Deal. 

“We call on Parliament to continue exercising its role in holding the new Commission accountable for delivering a meaningful European Green Deal in line with voters’ expectations,” concluded Ester Asin.

WWF expects the Green Deal to pass five ‘tests’ to be a credible response to the twin climate and biodiversity crises:

  • Set mutually reinforcing targets on decarbonisation and nature restoration, based on what science dictates
  • Introduce flagship initiatives to transition to sustainable food systems in the EU and to address the EU’s global footprint
  • Focus on delivery: zero tolerance for non-compliance or weak implementation of environmental laws
  • Stop all financial support for harmful economic activities such as fossil fuel use and shift public and private finance to a climate neutral and sustainable economy
  • Guarantee a just transition ensuring no-one is left behind