The Green Deal is a set of EU policy initiatives for achieving climate neutrality by 2050, while strengthening Europe’s economic competitiveness and establishing the EU as a global leader in tackling climate change.
Goals include cutting the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030, scaling up the circular economy, and implementing carbon pricing to influence a shift in consumer and business behaviour.
“The transformative agenda of the European Green Deal is as demanding as it is compelling,” said Dimitri Papalexopoulos, Vice-Chairman of ERT. “The scale of the transition involved requires strong and sizeable collaboration between governments, society, industry and the wider business community.”
“If we get this right, it presents an opportunity to make Europe more sustainable and more prosperous,” said Papalexopoulos. But how can we ensure that nobody is left behind in this major transition to a carbon neutral continent?
‘We need to act now’
“Ten years ago, we believed in wind energy, but we did not have the turbines,” said Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola. “So we need to convert traditional industries to make these. If we want all this to be manufactured in Europe and create jobs, we need to act now.”
Keen for the EU Green Deal to be an opportunity for business and economic growth, Timmermans agreed that Europe must act with some urgency if it is to become the showcase for climate neutrality and stop businesses from going abroad. Re-skilling the workforce is crucial to this: “The risk of mass unemployment is not going to be linked to a lack of jobs, the risk of mass unemployment is going to be linked to a lack of skills if we’re not careful,” he said.
“And the non-availability of a skilled workforce will be a driving force for industry to leave Europe. So we have to make sure that in this transformation that all interested parties, in the private sector and public sector, make sure that skilling and re-skilling becomes a natural thing we do,” added Timmermans.
“Europe should be the best place to innovate for industry if we want to create jobs,” said Dr. Ilham Kadri, CEO and President of the Executive Committee of Solvay.