The EU intends to be socially fair in the climate transition, to tackle climate change and make its industry competitive, according to European Commission’s new Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal and interim European Commissioner for Climate Action Maroš Šefčovič. The 27-member bloc is about to enter the phase of “proper implementation,” he pointed out.
The European Green Deal is the European Union’s strategy for growth, Maroš Šefčovič said in one of the first interviews after getting his two new roles. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has appointed the veteran European commissioner to replace Frans Timmermans ahead of the United Nations climate negotiations, scheduled for November.
The EU and its member states have been developing the legal framework for rapid decarbonization for several years. “And now we are approaching the phase that should be equally challenging, if not more, and this is the rollout, this is proper implementation” of the European Green Deal, Šefčovič told Euronews.
Šefčovič: Now we are approaching the phase that should be equally challenging, if not more
Timmermans quit last month to participate in the upcoming general elections in the Netherlands. Šefčovič, the vice president for interinstitutional relations and foresight, was picked to be the new executive vice president for the European Green Deal at the same time.
He also became the European commissioner for climate action on an interim basis. The candidate for the post is the outgoing Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra.
Domestic industry must become top global competitor
Šefčovič joined the EU’s executive body 14 years ago. Between 2014 and 2019 he was the European commissioner for energy.
The overarching goals of the current transition are to be socially fair, to tackle climate change and make the domestic industry the top competitor on the global markets, the official from Slovakia pointed out.
The EU is here to fight for its industry, according to the new European Green Deal chief
“I would like to introduce a series of structured roundtables with the industries which would be the most affected by the green transition, which are under a lot of pressure from international competitors, also jumped on the background of climate change. And I think that also our industry should know that we are here to fight for them. We want them not only to stay but to prosper in Europe because we’ve been the first major economy that started to tackle climate change with all the vigor,” Šefčovič explained.
The EU is trying to respond to a climate and renewables funding program in the United States, worth USD 369 billion. It was rolled out a year ago with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
EU can’t afford not to continue climate action
Asked about fatigue in climate action among some member states, Šefčovič said “the worst possible solution” would be not to react to catastrophic weather events like the recent wildfires in Greece and floods in Slovenia.
“Because, let’s look at this summer. Let’s look at the last summer. Last summer we saw what was terrible. This summer was much worse. And we can just brace for what next summer would look like if we wouldn’t act,” the top EU official underscored.