The EU 2020 Strategy will replace the Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs, which expires this year. However, the EU 2020 appears to cite a green agenda only within the context of “the future competitiveness of our industry and our economies,” which leads some to believe that profits and growth are still Barroso’s main priorities.
During the public consultation on the EU 2020 strategy, which closed on January 15th, many NGOs submitted comments that the document did not address key environmental issues enough. The formal proposal for the strategy, which was presented by Commissioner Barroso on 3rd March, has again come under criticism from green groups for failing to address their concerns.
Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office, commented, "The EU 2020 strategy is a collection of policy aspirations that are in themselves pretty unobjectionable, but do not add up to a whole. It gives us signposts in reducing Europe’s environmental burden on itself but none on its impact on the rest of the world."
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), commenting on the proposed 20% increased energy efficiency in the next decade, said this means we will in 2020 use exactly as much energy as today, if the economy grows with 20% in the same period. "The Commission clearly lacks the courage to increase the ambitions, needed to prevent disastrous global warming, and to re-establish EU as a world leader,” said John Hontelez, Secretary General of EEB.
The Greens in the European Parliament believe the document repeats the mistakes of the Lisbon Treaty, stating, “The Commission Communication represents more short-sighted obsession with growth and competitiveness, instead of 2020 vision for Europe's sustainable future and quality of life.
The EU 2020 Strategy fails to provide the blueprint for a future based on an integrated, triple focus on economy, environment and social issues. Only a Green New Deal will deliver green jobs and sustainable solutions to the current crisis.” The Strategy will be considered for adoption by European Council at its meeting at the end of March.