Press Release – EU citizens have spoken:  A majority for the green deal remains, while the climate sceptics make gains

Publish date: June 10, 2024

Brussels, Belgium – Today marks a new cycle for European politics. After months of electoral campaigns, political manifestos and rallies, around 147 million EU citizens cast their votes and elected their representatives to form the new European Parliament. 

According to first provisional results and the current formation of groupings, the European People’s Party (EPP) will retain the largest share of seats, with the Socialist and Democrats (S&D) being the second biggest group, albeit with fewer seats. Renew Europe, which took significant losses, will be the third most represented group, followed by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Identity and Democracy (ID) group. Finally, the European Greens have more seats than the Left (GUE/NGL), which is the last group per number of representatives. Despite this division, it must be noted that almost 100 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are not part of any group and the formation of Parliament groups may change, potentially reshuffling the equilibrium in the Parliament. In the coming weeks, like-minded national delegations will meet to form the groups that will populate the European Parliament. 

The European Elections are a vital showcase for democracy. Despite the concerning rise of climate sceptic parties and narratives, most European parties acknowledge the need for European leadership on climate action with the Green Deal in their political Manifestos and have committed to a net-zero Europe by 2050 at the latest. As an international non-profit organisation that believes in a just and democratic green transition, Bellona Europa looks forward to collaborating with the new Parliament as a trust-worthy voice in the fight against climate change

Despite much publicised narratives in the media and political debates, as seen in the farmers’ protests, suggesting that climate policies hurt the European economy and its competitiveness, the next European Parliament will be composed by a majority of members supporting the objectives of the Green Deal. Nevertheless, representatives with a more sceptical approach towards climate policy have gained more seats compared to the past legislature and will make it more challenging to design ambitious climate policy. The next European cycle will therefore need to better emphasise the broader societal benefits of ambitious and well-designed climate action. The false contradiction between ambitious climate action and a strong European economy is underlined by the broad support for net-zero objectives by industrial stakeholders and business across Europe. 

While some parties emphasised the importance of building a competitive European industry, others mainly focused on the credibility and social aspect of the green transition. Moreover, European parties widely agreed that substantial investments are necessary to properly finance the transition, while ensuring that people remain at the centre of it.  

Bellona Europa’s recently published Roadmap 2024-2029 sets out three key priorities for the next legislature to address the climate crisis in a way which supports European industrial decarbonisation in a just and rapid manner. Bellona Europa believes that greater EU competitiveness is fully dependent on accelerating the green transition, with European industries leading the way to our net-zero targets and becoming global leaders of low-carbon production. The climate transition is already on its way, and all European parties and representatives should work together to ensure it serves the interest of its industries and its people. This will not only make our industries more competitive in a world heading towards net-zero objectives but will also provide new high-quality jobs while keeping climate ambitions at the top of the agenda.  

«Despite reports of backlash against climate policies and a rise of climate sceptical EU representatives, the outcome of these European elections shows that the next European Parliament will be formed in majority by supporters of the Green Deal. The next European Parliament will have the responsibility to act together in reaching the net-zero objective for the benefit of both its industries and its citizens.»

Francesco Lombardi Stocchetti

Policy Advisor, Sustainable Finance & Economy

Europe must move beyond viewing the green transition as an ideological battle and start implementing decisive climate policies. The consequences of inaction are already being felt in Europe and across the globe and will have an even greater impact on future generations. The time to act is now. The European Parliament, together with the other EU institutions must lead the transformation to a net-zero Europe by 2050 at the latest.

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