Europe also has ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint, in a bid to address global climate change, starting with cutting greenhouse emissions 20 per cent by 2020, 40 per cent by 2030, and going fully carbon neutral by 2050. These goals require a massive integration of renewable energy, along with a reduction of energy consumption. Nonetheless, the implementation of EU carbon reduction targets relies on the full cooperation of absolutely all member states — no one country can achieve this alone. National governments have until the end of 2019 to draft their own plans to comply with the EUs ambitious climate-change goals.
Addressing climate change is of top urgency among member states. In Brussels, a 70,000 strong march demanded that the EU do more to combat global climate change. It was the fourth such rally in two months to gather more than 10,000 participants. Climate change legislation has also passed in Spain and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden have co-signed a joint letter addressed to EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, calling for a clear direction towards net-zero emissions.
Ultimately, it is believed that addressing climate change will help Europe address inequality — which is a main source of discontent that fuels nationalism and Euroscepticism. Creating new opportunities in new industries is something Spain, in particular, has sought to address.
However, EU members remain divided on the strategy forward. Germany has opposed the imposition of higher targets for CO2 emissions on cars; Poland is still reliant on coal-fired power stations, and the yellow jacket protests in France were kicked off by the governments attempt to raise taxes on motor vehicles — a tax that has since been reverted.
It is clear that the EU is far from perfect. Nevertheless, it is also a dynamic, democratic project that allows each member state to have an outsize impact via cooperation. Whether it comes to finance or climate change, the best chance the continent has is to hang together. To do that, the continents citizens need to come together too, including at the ballot box this May.