Road to EU 2024

As Brussels echoes with farmer protests, European Greens manifesto pledges stronger climate commitments

February 2024
By Maximilian Powell

Amid a week of European turmoil, with farmers protesting in Brussels against environmental regulations and the prospect of cheap foreign imports, the European Greens find themselves at a crossroads. As they observe a decline in the polls, a critical decision looms: whether to compromise on the Green Deal or risk marginalizing their unwavering pursuit of a more ecologically conscious agenda.

The unfolding drama takes center stage at the party congress in Lyon this weekend, where the Green Party‘s draft EU election manifesto will be debated. Within the 38-page document titled the “Courage to Change,” the party advocates for substantial investments to propel the green transition while safeguarding living conditions.

In the face of escalating calls form the other parliamentary groups across the EU for a ‘regulatory pause’ to allow member states and businesses to absorb the Green Deal legislation, the Greens appear to be intensifying their stance. The draft manifesto proposes a fresh set of EU regulations, encompassing the overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy and a redirection of EU funds to exclusively support “organic farming and agroecological production.”

The manifesto calls for tighter deadlines to phase out fossil fuels, setting sights on achieving full climate neutrality by 2040 and an end to the use of coal by 2030, fossil gas by 2035, and oil by 2040. The party urges the EU to devise a plan to phase out fossil subsidies by 2025 “at the latest” and “all other environmentally harmful subsidies by 2027,” aiming for a comprehensive transformation of the EU energy system, relying entirely on solar, water, wind, and geothermal sources.

Meanwhile, a significant shift in foreign and security policy can be seen in the manifesto’s third chapter, ‘Courage to Take Responsibility – Building a Union of Security, Peace and Global Justice’. The manifesto advocates for deeper military cooperation, emphasizing the bolstering of the EU’s diplomatic capabilities so that the Union is ‘No longer relying on authoritarian regimes’. The party supports a robust EU diplomatic service (EEAS) as a “force for truly transnational diplomacy,” championing the fight against impunity and the establishment of lasting peace.

Reports indicate that this weekend’s party congress will witness an internal battle over climate targets, with the German Greens proposing to delay climate neutrality goals by five years and revising aspects of the gas and oil phase-out policies. European Greens co-president, Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts, expresses support for the current Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, ensuring the realization of the Green Deal 2.0.

Holding 21 out of 71 seats within the Green group in the European Parliament, the German Greens aim to modulate their messaging, fortifying their social and economic profile while aligning with a more business-friendly rhetoric. This nuanced stance sharply contrasts with France’s Les Ecologistes, the second-largest member of the European Green Party, and other factions within the party.