Europe Green Deal – background explainer

Ursual von der Leyden  in 2017 photo by Kuhlmann /MSC (CC BY 3.0 DE)

UPDATED: updated 12.03 (noon) CET; 13.00 CET; 18.40 CET (final versions of Commission documents to replace leaked versions) 
LEAK – the European Green Deal document:



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As the European Commission today announces what its green deal will be like, how will agriculture, food and rural Europe play its part? Will this green deal be white wash, or will it have substance? And will a just transition help Europe’s workers farmers and all citizens make the change?

A flagship of the new EU Commission of Usrula von der Leyden  is the Green Deal which aims for a difficult and delicate balancing act: the aim is to combine growth, investment and a just transition for workers. 

Momentum has been building on just what Europe’s green deal will reveal. Former Ag Commissioner Dacian Ciolos wrote this morning.  “The Green Deal has to be a solution-oriented deal that supports traditional carbon-intensive industries and regions that will need to reinvent themselves, at the same time as it provides incentives for frontrunners and breakthrough technologies. It will also need to bring on board our farmers and foresters who will at the same time have to support our climate and biodiversity goals while adapting to a changing climate.”

He goes on to emphasise  the need for “a clear political pathway”… and “an architecture for the future” as well as a CAP that “can deliver on our new political ambitions.”

However it is already being reported that the 50% reduction in pesticide use by 2030 has been dropped from the final report. as seen in this leaked Commission presentation

A concern is that even the idea of aiming for net zero emissions does not demand leaving fossil fuels in the ground; rather, and allows for offsetting and the production of emissions elsewhere, as Greta Thunberg and others have argued at COP25 this week:


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As we’ve been reporting since at least 2016, very developed countries have simply been transferring their emissions to the majority south,

UK Outsourcing Food Footprint, study shows

And as can be seen from this EU Green Deal draft  leak, from late November, there was only so much ambition for the just transition. In fact, the section – Building a fairer society: A just transition initiative –  is blank, which isn’t a good sign: it suggest a just transition was more of an add on, an after thought.

This is also the cause of so much consternation on countries like the Netherlands, where the government tried to introduce quite abrupt plans to immediately reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, without a transition plan for farmers. The result was quite clear:

How a Nitrogen Crisis Turned Dutch Farmers to Rage

Read Olivier De Schutter‘s take on what is needed from EU farming and food policy. And real Lousie Kelleher’s take on what a real green new deal would entail below.



Green New Deal for Europe: Commission Co-Opting the Real Deal