What is Next for European Climate Action

The EU Election results are in and it’s a mixed picture, so what does this mean for the future of climate action across Europe?

While there is some good news in three of POW’s seven EU chapters (Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands) with climate and environment-positive parties taking control. For the larger countries, the news was not good. In Germany and Italy, votes and seats swung to the right, and in France and Austria the far right.

Here’s a snapshot of the results provided by our PA agency Ohana:

– Participation exceeded 51%.
– The European People’s Party (EPP – centre right) emerged as the clear winner.
-European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR- right wing) gained 4 seats (total: 73).
– Identity and Democracy (ID- far right) increased by 9 seats (total: 58).
– Socialists & Democrats (S&D – centre left) retained 139 seats.
– Greens faced a setback, losing 18 seats, but performed well in Denmark, Sweden, and Lithuania.
– Renew Europe (liberals)  did not fare well, losing 20 seats.
– The Left (far left) lost 1 seat (total: 36).

The rest of the parliament is still to be decided, as there are 98 seats that still need to determine their political affiliation in the new parliament.

What’s next?

The European Parliament is set to vote for the President of the Commission, proposed by the Council, on July 18th and the Council is expected to propose Ursula von der Leyen (EPP) for a second term.
If she receives 361 votes in parliament Von der Leyen will be able to reform her current coalition with S&D, EPP, and Renew . S&D and Renew have ruled out working with ECR, but the Greens might join Von der Leyen’s centrist coalition strengthening it.
This gives hope that the EU Green Deal, the core of the EU’s climate and environmental policy will stay alive, and the addition of the Greens to the coalition could see ambition maintained.
However, we must watch how ECR and ID behave moving forward. Is it possible that Giorgia Meloni (ECR) might pact with Le Pen (ID), achieving the unification of both right-wing parties? This would threaten the EPP, Renew, S&D (and possibly Green) coalition’s ability to safely pass legislation?

Supporters of the EU Green Deal must continue to lobby for its implementation and continued ambition, the potential for a strengthened right-wing coalition to exert influence and water down this critical policy cannot be ignored.
It is also critical that post-election we focus on the broader aspects of POW’s climate movement, education and collaboration. In an era when the energy crisis and security threats caused by global conflict and an aggressive Russia present as “in your face” issues, the continued understanding that the existential threat to all human kind is climate and ecological breakdown cannot lose ground.

So, to those businesses and organisations who signed POW’s manifesto, and to our community that turned out to vote, we must be more committed than ever. The next 5 years will be challenging, more challenging than we hoped for, and the snap election called in France will be the start.

But together we can do this. Let’s go!