On 16 April 2024, Strategic Perspectives hosted a High Level Conference, Strategic choices on the next phase of the European Green Deal, in collaboration with Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft and Jacques Delors Institute in Brussels, Belgium.

Held the day before the Special European Council, the conference aimed to advance discussions on the future of Europe's energy and economic policies during the upcoming European Commission term in 2024-2029.

Strategic Perspectives' Executive Director, Linda Kalcher, and Director, Neil Makaroff, opened the conference with a presentation of our recently-launched flagship reportForging Economic Security and Cohesion in the EU (also available in French). They set the stage for focused discussions on the successes of the Green Deal and the ongoing challenges and modernisation needed within the European economy and society.

Strategic Perspectives High Level Conference

A series of expert panels addressed various critical issues, with keynote speaker Krzysztof Bolesta, Poland's State Secretary for Climate, opening with five key priorities for the coming years:

  1. Advocating for a people-centred approach,
  2. A robust European industrial policy incorporating energy security,
  3. Embracing all technologies,
  4. Securing funding beyond 2027, and
  5. Emphasising the need for meticulous implementation.
Strategic Perspectives High Level Conference Bolesta

Julian Popov, Bulgaria’s Former Minister of Environment and Water, joined by panellists Albéric Mongrenier, Camille Defard, Mónika Zsigri and Pénélope Le Menestrel, led the Energy Security Panel. They highlighted the geopolitical and economic dangers of Europe’s reliance on gas.

"The biggest mistake the EU should avoid is to bet on gas. It is too politically and economically costly." - Julian Popov

The panel advocated for increased demand reduction and strategic energy investments.

Strategic Perspectives High Level Conference Energy Security Panel Popov

The Investment Panel, featuring Bas Eickhout, Marcin Korolec, Nancy Saich, Dr. Louise Kessler and Miguel Gil Tertre, delved into the crucial financial strategies required to sustain and accelerate the Green Deal’s objectives. They debated the scale of funding necessary for the transition, deliberating whether it requires billions or trillions of euros. This discussion underscored the financial commitment needed to achieve net-zero. The panel also emphasised the importance of sufficient financing, asserting that no "competitiveness deal" could succeed without ensuring that all countries have sufficient resources to invest.

The panellists agreed that the shift to a fossil-free economy is inevitable, but they raised a critical question: Will this transition generate new jobs and industries within Europe or will it result in a rise in imports? Consequently, they debated whether Europe will emerge as a leader or fall behind in the energy transition.

Strategic Perspectives High Level Conference Investing in the Net-Zero Transition

During the panel on Priorities for EU Energy and Climate Diplomacy, featuring Austria’s Federal Minister for Climate Action, Leonore Gewessler, alongside Camila Polo Flórez, Dr. Olumide Abimbola and Linda Kalcher, the discussion focused on enhancing international cooperation to broaden the impact of the Green Deal globally. The panellists emphasised the importance of reinforcing economic relationships with developing countries, something which has not happened enough in previous years. They highlighted the external benefits of the Green Deal for partners, such as more resilient supply chains, better diplomatic ties and expanded business opportunities.

Strategic Perspectives High Level Conference Priorities for EU Energy and Climate Diplomacy Gewessler

The Industry Panel, featuring Kurt Vandenberghe, Thomas Van Cangh, Erika Mink-Zaghloul, Jernej Vernik and Aleksander Śniegocki, was a constructive discussion on the necessity of robust industrial policies. Many panellists reinforced our suggestions for the European Council as they highlighted the need to provide clear forecasts on future paths, create lead markets, optimise procurement practices and enhance both the single market and the Capital Markets Union.

Concluding words from Sabine Nallinger, Managing Director at Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft, emphasised strong business support for the European Green Deal.

Strategic Perspectives High Level Conference Sabine Nallinger Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft

The conference concluded with a Fireside Chat between Ana Palacio and Dara Murphy, organised by Project Syndicate, focusing on the geopolitical implications of the European Green Deal. The discussion highlighted the importance of EU sovereignty and alignment in tackling global challenges, advocating for a cohesive approach towards China. The panellists also noted that the Green Deal has moved beyond ideological debates to become a fundamental element of Europe's future strategy.

Strategic Perspectives Fireside Chat Project Syndicate

If you are interested in hearing about future conferences and events, please contact us.