Greener, smarter and more resilient – this is the recovery we must build, PES environment ministers say

12/03/2021

PES environment ministerial videoconference

PES environment ministerial videoconference

An ambitious approach to the climate based on progressive values must be central to the recovery, PES environment ministers said today as they met by videoconference to discuss and coordinate.

The meeting started with a briefing by European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans on the meeting with the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry. The agenda further included the European Climate Law, the EU Strategy on Adaption to Climate Change and the Member States’ Recovery and Resilience Plans.
 
Meeting Chair, German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany Svenja Schulze, said:
“Under both the German and current Portuguese Presidency, action for the climate has been a priority. One year ago, Frans Timmermans presented the Climate Law and positioned Europe at the front of global efforts to reduce emissions. As progressive ministers, we continue to focus on reaching agreement on that proposal. It is a vital for a fair and sustainable Europe.
 
“From increasingly severe weather to environmental degradation, the world is facing real challenges. We cannot falter now. As we recover from the coronavirus crisis, we must embrace the ambitious European Green Deal, embedding measures into society to combat climate change and strengthen resilience. 
 
“We must build a greener, smarter and more resilient Europe. This is our responsibility under the Paris Agreement and the proposed Climate Law. But more than that, it is our duty to future generations.”
 
Ministers thanked European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans for his continued efforts to drive forward the sustainability agenda, both at the EU-level and globally.  They welcomed the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change presented by Executive Vice-President Timmermans last month and stressed the importance of having an ambitious Fit for 55 package presented later this year. 
 
The participants expressed concern that the EU and the world continue to face increasingly frequent and severe climate and weather extremes, desertification, loss of biodiversity, land and ecosystem degradation, ocean acidification and sea level rises. Through the Climate Law, Adaptation Strategy and other measures under the European Green Deal umbrella, progressives are working to strengthen the EU’s resilience to climate change and build its adaptive capacities, in line with the Paris Agreement and the proposed Climate Law.
 
Ministers agreed that the Recovery and Resilience Plans being drafted by Member States offer an unprecedented opportunity to speed up the recovery in Europe and reinforce the commitment to the twin transitions: green and digital. Ministers agreed these transitions must be socially fair and equitable and they exchanged on how to devote 37% of spending on climate action.
 
The meeting was attended by:
  • Svenja Schulze, Chair, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
  • Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, European Commission
  • Dan Jorgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark
  • Aaron Farrugia, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning, Malta
  • João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister of Environment and Energy Transition, Portugal
  • Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Spain
  • Pedro Marques, MEP, Vice-President of the S&D Group, PES Coordinator for the implementation of the Commission Work Programme, European Parliament
  • Jytte Guteland, MEP, S&D coordinator, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, European Parliament
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES