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Leaked Document Reveals EU To Delay Green Deal Initiatives


The European Commission is reviewing its 2020 work programme in light of the coronavirus crisis. Although climate policies remain broadly on track, other initiatives under the European Green Deal are being delayed because they are considered “less essential”.

European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen (L) and Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans (R) take their seats before a vote by Members of the European Parliament on her college of commissioners, in Strasbourg, France, 27 November 2019. [EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER]

The coronavirus crisis is putting Commission staff under unprecedented pressure to deal with “urgent, new and existing COVID-19 related files,” according to a draft document seen by EURACTIV.

In order “to free up capacity,” the EU executive is preparing an updated work programme for 2020 which is expected to be published on 29 April.

“Given the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Commission is currently reviewing its work programme for 2020,” an EU spokesperson confirmed. “A new programme will be published in the coming weeks,” the spokesperson told EURACTIV.

As part of the review, the Commission’s secretariat general is assessing whether new policy initiatives can afford to be postponed because they are neither directly related to COVID-19 or are considered “less essential for delivery on the absolute key priorities”.

The European Commission is having to re-order its priorities in the face of the coronavirus crisis, with “non-essential” initiatives like the biodiversity strategy and the farm-to-fork strategy likely to be delayed by several weeks, EURACTIV understands.

Among the “absolute key priorities” that will remain unchanged, the document mentions “in particular targeted priority files related under the ecological and digital transitions”.

Those are marked in green in the document and should go ahead as planned. In yellow are initiatives that can afford to be delayed until later in 2020. Finally, the document marks in red the initiatives that will be delayed to 2021.

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