During the start of the 2019-2024 legislative mandate, the European Commission launched the EU Green Deal and within it the target of ensuring a climate neutral continent by 2050. In fact, the European Climate Law requires the EU, through a legally binding target, to reach climate neutrality. To ultimately reach this target, the law also sets a target for 2030 to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990. 

In view of this target, Member States have been required to produce National Energy and Climate Plans which should detail how their country plans to achieve the required reductions. In a first instance, these were adopted in 2019 and are now being revised in 2023-2024 in compliance with the EU Governance Regulation. There have been criticisms from certain stakeholders that these plans are, in conjunction, failing to reach the 2030 target while underlining that certain countries are not including a concrete timeline to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels. 

As mandated by the EU Climate Law, the European Commission has published a communication on an intermediate 2040 target to initiate discussions ahead of a proper proposal setting out a legally binding target after the elections. Within this non-binding communication, the European Commission is recommending a 90% reduction target. Once and if agreed, this new target will form the basis of the EUs renewed international commitment under the Paris Agreement. 

The willingness to push for a target and the final number will depend heavily on the results of the elections. It is here particularly interesting to note that the highly influential MEP from the EPP (biggest group in the European Parliament), Pieter Liese, has underlined that they would only consider a 90% target in certain conditions are fulfilled (incl. reducing demands on industry by not unduly restricting PFAS). 

Looking ahead to the next legislative mandate, the new political makeup of the parliament will decide to what extent pushing for continued greenhouse gas emissions reduction is prioritized. A more conservative leaning parliament will rather put the emphasis on industrialisation and lessening the burden on business within the EU.