Turning challenge into opportunity on the course to becoming the first climate-neutral continent

climate change_

(Markus Spiske, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


“We are determined to tackle climate change and turn it into an opportunity for the European Union”, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said following the meeting of the European Council on 12 December in Brussels. She presented to the EU leaders the European Green Deal, Europe’s roadmap for green transition that should help us cut emissions, create jobs and open up new opportunities in a fair way.

The EU leaders recognised that the transition to climate neutrality would bring significant opportunities, such as potential for economic growth, business and technological development.

Forward-looking research, development and innovation policies will have a key role, the Council conclusions read.

“We are aware that not every region has the same starting point. We are aware of the fact that for some regions and sectors it will be more difficult to adapt”, President von der Leyen said, underlining that she was ready to work very closely with the Member States on the agenda of the European Green Deal which includes a number of initiatives that will ensure no one is left behind. The Green Deal, as she stressed in her presentation to the European Parliament earlier this week, is a strategy for growth that gives more back than it takes away.

For example, the Green Deal includes the launch of the Just Transition Mechanism that will combine public and private money. The European Investment Bank will leverage it, with the ambition to reach EUR 100 billion in investment over the next seven years. It will be the springboard for those sectors and those regions that have to catch up. The EU is a frontrunner in climate action and it wants to stay the frontrunner, von der Leyen said. Combined with investments in research, innovation, science and technology, the Green Deal is Europe’s new growth strategy.

In addressing climate change, the EU will also engage internationally. “If we want to convince others like India or China to join, we have to be a role model”, President von der Leyen stressed. “We have to be united and bold, step forward and prove that change is possible, and that it is of benefit for the people and for the economy.”

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