With NextGenerationEU, we are ushering in a new, green Europe. One that works for both people and planet.
With at least 30% of the NextGenerationEU Recovery Plan, and the EU's seven-year budget, earmarked for tackling climate change and supporting green projects, here are the key areas we are prioritising over the years to come. Let’s make it green!
Reducing our carbon footprint
The EU’s 2030 climate target plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. To achieve this objective, emissions must be reduced in all sectors, from industry and energy to transport and farming. This target sets Europe on a responsible path to becoming climate neutral by 2050.
With NextGenerationEU, we are helping EU countries transition to clean energy use, largely based on renewable sources that are secure and affordable. We are kick starting an EU-wide renovation wave to make private homes and public buildings more energy efficient and help more people afford to heat their homes. Green and digital technology will enable us to upgrade European cities so they are smart, with energy efficient heating and lighting, innovative urban water supply systems and waste disposal facilities.
Travel and transportation will become more environmentally friendly. We are increasing and improving cycling infrastructure and investing more in public transport networks, including high-speed rail lines across Europe. We are developing zero-emission large aircraft and marine vessels, like ships and tankers. We are encouraging the transition to electric cars, and making sure there are enough recharge and refuel stations around Europe.
These investments will not only help us meet our climate goals, they will create green jobs for the future, strengthening our economies, and will help us improve the quality of life of all Europeans.
Protecting our environment
Nature and biodiversity is essential for life. Our planet, economies and societies depend on it. When nature is healthy, it protects and provides. It gives us the food we eat, filters the water we drink and supplies the air we breathe.
Climate change is already having a dramatic effect on our natural environments, plants and animals, which is why climate action is at the heart of the European Green Deal. NextGenerationEU funding is helping to deliver the EU’s ambitious goal to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, which has been written into the first European Climate Law. It will tackle the effects of climate change and preserve Europe’s natural environment, all the while helping us develop a sustainable, resource-efficient and competitive economy.
Nature and biodiversity
We are protecting more areas on land and at sea across Europe, as well as our rich biodiversity. We are tackling the key drivers of biodiversity loss and are working towards zero pollution for air, water and soil by 2050. We are improving the quantity and quality of our forests, strengthening their resilience to climate change and promoting a more sustainable forest economy, including ecotourism, to ensure that rural areas and their local populations are not left behind. And we are launching a nature restoration plan for ecosystems and wetlands that have been degraded over the years.
We are improving waste management and kick-starting the circular economy from plastics and textiles to batteries and vehicles. We are making sure you have the right to repair your electrical goods, and when you are finished, have the means to recycle. We are promoting sustainable fashion and supporting centres across Europe where you can learn how to upgrade your goods and give them a new life.
Such changes will not only help us protect the environment and meet our climate targets, but will also improve the health and quality of life of all Europeans.
The future of our food
The Farm to Fork strategy, which lies at the heart of the European Green Deal, is providing all Europeans with access to safe, nutritious, sustainable food at affordable prices. The plan will make sure our food production has a lower environmental impact, while generating fairer economic returns for farmers.
Nutritious, sustainable food
With NextGenerationEU and Farm to Fork, we are making sure everyone has access to safe, healthy food and there is enough of it. We are encouraging people to adopt a healthy, sustainable diet and are reducing food waste. We are developing a food-labelling scheme that shows where a product came from, its nutritional value, and environmental and social impact. And we are investing more in research and innovation to make sure that we have a resilient food system fit for the future.
Farming and fishing
We are helping farmers transition to organic agriculture, which will help reduce the carbon footprint of our food, protect the environment and preserve biodiversity. We are investing in research and technology to make farming more efficient, to modernise irrigation, and to develop non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. And we are supporting sustainable fishing and aquaculture, which will boost the blue economy.
Such changes will not only help us meet our climate targets, but will also create new opportunities for consumers, farmers, fishermen and the food industry.
A greener Europe for everyone
We want everyone to be involved in and benefit from Europe’s green future, which is why we are investing more money in research and innovation to respond to the climate crisis and to provide more protection to Europe’s biodiversity and habitats under threat.
To ensure a fair and just transition for all, we are also mobilising more green investments than ever before and providing skilling and reskilling opportunities to help workers and businesses thrive in the green economy. And we are making sure that the move towards an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind, thanks to our Just Transition Mechanism.
We know that we can only solve the global threat of climate change by cooperating with our international partners. Therefore, we are working with other governments to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. We are supporting developing countries in their efforts to tackle climate change. And we are leading by example, setting target dates for climate neutrality and encouraging other governments to do the same. By working together, we will ensure a greener world for tomorrow.
More than ever before, we are putting green issues in the spotlight. That’s why we have teamed up with UEFA, the Union of European Football Associations, for a three-year campaign on how we can all play our part in tackling climate change. Find out more about our joint campaign with UEFA.
How can you get involved?
There are many ways you can help make the future more green, such as taking public transport or biking, by eating more vegetables and less meat, and by buying second hand, recycling and reusing.
You can also get involved in the European Climate Pact, an initiative that helps communities share and implement measures to combat climate change, or in the Green Consumption Pledge, an initiative that encourages businesses to become more climate-friendly by, for example, reducing their carbon footprint or producing more sustainable products.You can also share ideas on sustainable, climate-friendly architecture via our New European Bauhaus initiative.
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