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Editor’s note: oh, what a night!

Many are clinging on to the fact centrism has prevailed over a far-right rise in Brussels, but there is no avoiding that the overall winners are parties and individuals that have been less than positive in their reactions to the EU Green Deal © 2024 Getty Images
Many are clinging on to the fact centrism has prevailed over a far-right rise in Brussels, but there is no avoiding that the overall winners are parties and individuals that have been less than positive in their reactions to the EU Green Deal © 2024 Getty Images

The latest edition of our Sustainable Views newsletter

Dear reader,

The buzz in Brussels this morning is clearly about the results of the European parliament elections. As always, what happens in member states is not fully transferred to the EU capital. 

Far-right gains in France, Germany and Austria, Green successes in the Nordic countries and Green collapse in France, Germany and Belgium translates into something more measured in the European parliament. 

“What a night,” said Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout on X. “Clearly disappointing from France and Germany. But great results from Denmark, Sweden and Finland.” 

Many environmental groups seem to be clinging on to the fact centrism has prevailed over a far-right rise in Brussels, but there is, to my mind, no avoiding that the overall winners of the election are parties and individuals that have been less than positive in their reactions to the EU Green Deal, in particular as far as farming, food and nature are concerned. 

“‘The centre is holding,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen as the results came in on Sunday evening. However, as Carla Hobbs from the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank says: “It remains to be seen what kind of centre that will be, with important implications for the future of EU climate policies.”

While the EPP will likely govern again in a grand coalition with socialists and democrats and the centrist Renew party, “total continuity on the green agenda is unlikely”, she tells me. “The EPP’s shift towards the right on climate policies in the lead-up to the election is likely here to stay, particularly given the weakened hand of parties on the left and centre including the Greens, left and Renew.”

As I explore in my dive into the election results and what they mean for the EU Green Deal, it also remains to be seen whether von der Leyen is reappointed as commission president and what happens in France given Emmanuel Macron’s decision to dissolve parliament and call a snap election in reaction to the massive win by the far-right party Rassemblement National. 

Do get in touch and let me know what you think, and where you see Europe’s policies and investment on climate, food and farming, and nature going next.

In today’s opinion, Kristian Ruby, secretary-general at Eurelectric, argues that as a new political term starts in Europe, there are “various no-regret options to bridge the energy transition investment gap”.

“Reinventing our financial system will come with barriers and challenges.” he writes, highlighting the EU’s investment needs of more than 3 per cent of EU GDP, or €660bn a year to deliver the energy transition. “Yet, a vision without resources is an illusion. An innovative and systemic investment approach will be paramount for delivering on the European Green Deal. It is time to think — and act — outside the box.”  

Until tomorrow,

Philippa

Philippa Nuttall is the editor of Sustainable Views 

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