Net zero emissions economy receives considerable support from EU Economy Ministers

Climate action

EU Economy and Industry Ministers from ten EU Member States, including Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK, meeting in Brussels today to discuss the European Commission’s draft long-term strategy “A clean planet for all” expressed their support for building a climate neutral European economy by 2050.

In reaction to the ministers’ public debate, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“There is growing awareness among Europe’s political and business leaders that the much-needed shift to a net zero emission economy is an opportunity to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness. Reducing emissions to net zero, preferably by 2040, and scaling up emission cuts by 2030, will help the European industry to become a leader in an increasingly important global market that will trigger massive investments in the coming decades.”

According to the Commission’s analysis included in the strategy, achieving net zero emissions in the EU by 2050 will bring the following benefits:

  • GDP will increase by up to 2% compared to the baseline scenario;
  • employment will increase by 0.9%, representing 2.1 million additional jobs;
  • energy import dependence will fall from 55% today to 20% by 2050;
  • fossil fuel import bill (currently at €266 billion per year) will drop by over 70%;
  • health damages from air pollution caused by fine particulate matter will decrease by around €200 billion per year.

There is a growing momentum for achieving net zero emissions by 2050 among European stakeholders, including key business leaders. Already in June 2018, the “Coalition for Higher Ambition” wrote a joint letter to European decision makers supporting a net zero emissions target by 2050 at the latest. The signatories include the Corporate Leaders Group representing key European businesses, the Climate Group bringing together businesses and governments at the global level, and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), representing over €21 trillion in assets.

The strategy will be discussed by the Energy and Environment Councils (4 and 5 March, respectively). It may also be subject of European leaders’ debate at the European Council on 21 and 22 March. In the week of 11 March, the European Parliament will add momentum to this debate by voting on its resolution on the strategy, likely supporting the target of net zero emission by 2050.

Member States need to make significant progress in their discussions in March, so that an agreement on the strategy can be reached before the UN Secretary General Climate Summit in September 2019, where all countries are expected to put forward new commitments for more climate action.



Ania Drazkiewicz, CAN Europe Head of Communications,, +32 494 525 738

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 150 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.


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