Strategic Agenda: EU Leaders Snatch a Climate Stalemate from the Jaws of Defeat

Climate action


Strategic Agenda: EU Leaders Snatch a Climate Stalemate from the Jaws of Defeat


Brussels, 28 June 2024 Despite divisions amongst Member States and last minute attempts to remove any reference to the European Green Deal, CAN Europe welcomes the fact that EU leaders found agreement on a Strategic Agenda 2024-2029 that aims to harness the potential of the green transition. The celebration should be short lived though, with the final text providing only vague pathways to genuine climate ambition.

The Strategic Agenda 2024 – 2029 outlines priority areas that will steer the work of the European Council and provide guidance for the work programmes of other EU institutions which manage and accelerate the EU’s transition. Post-elections, CAN Europe urged EU Leaders to opt for a Strategic Agenda which lives up to the environmental, social and economic challenges that Europeans flagged as high priority during the election campaigns.

‘We can breathe a gentle sigh of relief this morning that the final EU Strategic Agenda for 2024-29 is significantly better than earlier versions seen, and that last minute attempts to delete all references to the green transition were resisted’ said Chiara Martinelli, Director at CAN Europe. ‘We shouldn’t fool ourselves though – the level of climate urgency in this Strategic Agenda compared to 5 years ago is shockingly low – yet the challenges remain the same. Any strategic vision that falls short of making the European Green Deal the central engine for a green industrial transformative strategy is one of gross missed opportunities’.

Overall, the agreed Strategic Agenda 2024-2029 is less detailed than the previous agreement, reflecting the dividing lines between Member States on a range of issues. Notably though, the final version does include some positive signals to ‘pursue a just and fair climate transition’, ‘make a success of the green…transition’, to ‘harness the potential of the green…transition to create the markets, industries and high-quality jobs of the future’ and ‘ambitious electrification using all net-zero- and low-carbon solutions’. Positively, the Agenda also commits the EU to move towards a more circular and resource-efficient economy. Given the broader language in the agreed text, detailing more specific initiatives will now fall on Ursula von der Leyen as the nominated future Commission President, once she is approved by the European Parliament.

‘High level strategic documents are one thing, but the devil is of course always in the details’ said Sven Harmeling, Head of Climate at CAN Europe. ‘All eyes are now on what practical vision a new College of Commissioners can bring to jumpstart a rapid transition to a socially just and climate neutral Europe – which crucially must include a 100% shift to renewables and fossil fuel phase out.’


Notes to the editors:


Tomas Spragg Nilsson, Senior Communications Coordinator at CAN Europe

+46 707 56 63 92


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