What is the EU doing for the environment? Climate Action Network noted French MEPs

What is the EU doing for the environment? Climate Action Network noted French MEPs
What is the EU doing for the environment? Climate Action Network noted French MEPs

Once is not custom. During the first debate organized this Sunday, May 5 by RTL-Le Figaro-M6 and Paris Première between the seven heads of lists in the European elections, ecology was the subject debated the longest, almost 30% of the discussions according to a count by the QuotaClimat association. And for good reason, the environment will be one of the major issues in the European elections on June 9. Acceleration of measures, “regulatory pause” or a complete step backwards… The composition of the future European Parliament will be decisive for the future of the EU’s ecological transition and its Green Deal. This package of measures, still unfinished, should allow Europeans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieve neutrality in 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Now is the time for campaign promises. The far right criticizes all standards and constraints, the left-wing lists would like to deepen the green pact and tax the richest and/or the most polluting, while the list of the presidential majority is on a crest line, more favorable to incentives as well as prohibitions.

Read alsoThe European “Green Deal” must compensate for the increase in carbon taxes for households

But beyond declarations of intent, it is useful to look back on this last mandate: what did French MEPs really vote for nature and the climate during the last mandate? To see more clearly, a network of European NGOs (CAN Europe, Transport & Environment, Birdlife, the European Environmental Bureau and WWF Europe) carried out accounts on 30 texts. For each, they studied the votes of Parliament when establishing its position on the proposed laws, that is to say before the negotiation phase with the Council and the Commission and before the final adoption vote .

Seven emblematic texts

A score was thus awarded for each vote of the most ambitious amendments for nature or the climate. For example, if the elected official voted according to the recommendations of European NGOs, he obtains 100 points, zero if he abstained, absented or voted against. An average for each political party in the Member States is then calculated. In France, the best student, Europe Ecologie Les Verts obtains an overall score of 95/100, the PS 92/100, LFI 87/100. Ambition is considered average for the parties of the presidential majority, Renaissance obtains 71/100, while the right and the extreme right bring up the rear with 29/100 for LR, 7/100 for reconquest and barely 6/100 for the RN, good last and 4th worst score, all countries combined.

In France, Réseau Action Climat pushed further the deciphering for the national parties gathered according to their parliamentary group on 7 emblematic texts of the Green Pact: the end of the sale of new cars with gasoline or diesel engines, the creation of the social fund for the climate to support the most vulnerable households, the acceleration of the deployment of renewable energies, energy efficiency, the climate and social impacts of businesses, the protection and restoration of nature, and the gradual elimination of pesticides ( text not adopted).

The left, driving force of the transition

Conclusion, “parties are systematically driving forces for the environmental ambition of the texts: LFI and the Republican and Social Left, the PS, public square and New deal, and the Ecologists and Regions and united peoples”, summarizes Caroline François-Marsal, responsible Europe at the Climate Action Network. Conversely, on the other side of the political spectrum, the far right had a constant position throughout the mandate: “Reconquest and the National Rally have always opposed any ecological ambition”. For example, they were the only ones to oppose mirror measures which prohibit the importation of goods that have caused deforestation. The picture is also rather bleak on the right side, with a few exceptions on energy efficiency or imported deforestation, “there are sometimes good surprises, this shows that there can be an openness on the part of these parties”, underlines Caroline François-Marsal.

Read alsoBiodiversity: the European Parliament narrowly avoids the derailment of its green deal

As for the majority parties, it is difficult to draw a clear conclusion given the disparity of votes, estimates the Climate Action Network: “they were driving forces behind the end of new thermal cars, but were not up to the task of ambition on the greening of the common agricultural policy for example”. The French liberal parties, from the presidential majority camp, and the Republicans, however, obtain scores higher than the average for their respective groups.

Unfinished Green Deal

But while the Christian Democrats (EPP) group is currently the largest, the European Parliament’s position on nature and climate has been consistently more ambitious than that of the other European institutions, the Council (the member states) and the Commission, welcomes Caroline François-Marsal who fears, however, that this engine of the transition will stall in view of the polls which show the far right largely in the lead, particularly in France. And this while ecological projects are still numerous. Certain texts of the Green Deal still need to be adopted, particularly in terms of sustainable food. NGOs also insist on the need to open the project of sobriety and financing to face the wall of public and private investments that the transition will require.

On all these subjects, the next European elections will therefore have a considerable impact, particularly in France. Because the number of deputies allocated to each state depends on its population. The most populous country behind Germany, France has the second largest pool of elected officials, and as much impact on the negotiations. “The French really have an important lever for action for the climate and nature,” summarizes Caroline François-Marsal. Let’s go vote on June 9.”

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