Photo: UNFCC

After a green voting marathon, the EU Parliament closed its final plenary of this term before its June elections. The huge voting sessions yielded a plethora of new policies, including the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), an amendment to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), and a host of other agreements, signaling a significant step forward in the EU’s commitment to sustainability.

Amidst these landmark decisions, the EU Parliament also addressed pressing human rights and environmental justice concerns.

The Net Zero Investment Act (NZIA), akin to the US Inflation Reduction Act, aims to improve the competitiveness of EU manufacturing of 19 net zero technologies ranging from battery storage to carbon capture. Simultaneously, companies will be investigated if there is verifiable information that they have sold, imported, or exported products made using forced labour. If found guilty, the company will have to remove its products from the EU market.

In a pivotal move, the EU Parliament withdrew from the Energy Treaty Charter, an international treaty founded in the 90s that allows fossil fuel investors to sue countries for taking ‘unfair’ climate actions in private courts. This gives the EU, and its member states the autonomy to enact climate regulations without the threat of litigation. Moreover, revisions to the common agricultural policy offer relief to small farm owners by exempting them from fines, and offering them additional exemptions in the case of extreme weather events.

As expected, the EU Council confirmed a two-year delay for sector-specific and non-EU reporting through the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Let’s make these elections the Green Deal elections.

The lasting legacy of this five-year EU Parliament will be the Green Deal. Since the Green Deal was announced in 2020, the EU has enacted a myriad of globally leading sustainability policies. Even with an expected rightward tilt in the June elections, these policies are locked in and can only be amended.

However, with the elections looming, future actions to implement the Green Deal hangs in the balance. Foreshadowing how a more conservative parliament may govern, a leading right-wing politician, Nicola Procaccini, said, “Obviously the Green Deal was crazy and sort of a religion.”

With political battlelines drawn, it seems the Green Deal is the most contentious election issue. EU Commissioner hopeful for the Greens Bas Eickhout said in a televised debate, “Let’s make these elections the Green Deal elections.

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