IATE Term of the Week: European Green Deal

green deal feature

The concept of a “green deal” as a comprehensive strategy to tackle climate change and environmental degradation by transforming the economy has been gradually introduced and developed over the last few years.

In the US the talk was of a “Green New Deal” – a clear reference to the “New Deal”, the major programme of public works and social reforms launched by President Roosevelt in 1933 in response to the Great Depression. The term was coined back in 2007 by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, after the country had just experienced its (at the time) warmest year on record, and made a quiet appearance on various political agendas. However, it was not until late 2018 that it gained widespread popularity and was brought to the forefront of public discourse in the US thanks to young Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her hotly debated resolution on the subject matter.

However, while the American green deal is only just beginning to take shape, the European Union is now much closer to translating this ambitious objective into a set of concrete policies.

As a matter of fact, Ursula von der Leyen, who took office as the President of the European Commission just over a month ago, included a “European Green Deal” amongst the top priorities on her political agenda for the upcoming years. Further details were disclosed on 11 December, when the legislative roadmap for making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 was officially presented – “This is Europe’s man on the moon moment” commented von der Leyen.

The European Green Deal covers all sectors of the economy – inter alia mobility, industry, energy and construction – and contains a set of innovative policy measures. Its main pillars include:

  • the full decarbonisation of the energy sector;
  • the introduction of a carbon border tax on imports from polluting foreign firms;
  • the new circular economy action plan;
  • the Just Transition Mechanism, aimed at supporting regions that rely heavily on fossil fuels.

Above all, the European Union is taking the lead in climate action and setting a great example for other global players. If it succeeds in its vision, it will prove the feasibility of decarbonisation and the compatibility of economic prosperity and environmental sustainability



Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the European Green Deal – COM/2019/640 final https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/european-green-deal-communication_en.pdf

European Commission > Press corner > The European Green Deal https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_19_6691

European Commission > Strategy > Priorities > A European Green Deal https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en

Foreign Policy > Green Deal, Greener World https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/17/united-states-democrats-green-new-deal-eu-europe-technically-feasible-environment-progress/

Ursula von der Leyen, A Union that strives for more. My agenda for Europe. Political guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en.pdf

Viola LibrentiViola Librenti holds a BA in Intercultural Communication and a MA in Conference Interpreting from the University of Bologna. She has studied and worked in Italy, Germany and the UK and is currently a trainee in the Italian Translation Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg. She has a background in terminology and technical translation and loves travelling, cooking and photography.