The European Union is widely considered a global leader in climate action. Yet, until the launch of the European Green Deal (EGD) in December 2019, it had no comprehensive policy framework to tackle climate change and the transition towards more sustainable development. Promoted as the EU’s post-2020 growth strategy, the EGD is often reduced to an economic policy. But its ambitions for systemic change, the climate risks at stake and the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis make it more than that. The health emergency has highlighted our vulnerability to multiplying crises that are increasingly unpredictable, as well as the need to build more sustainable and resilient societies and economies. If the European Commission delivers on its promise of channelling the COVID-19 recovery package and the 2021–2027 Multiannual Financial Framework towards the EGD goals of a green and socially just transition, it would constitute a unique opportunity for an economic and social reset that will better prepare Europe for managing and adapting to future crises – climate and beyond.
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