The European Green Deal: A game-changer?


10 January 2020


Egmont Palace, Place du Petit Sablon 8bis, 1000 Brussels



Labelled the European Union’s ‘new growth strategy’, the European Green Deal aims to ‘transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy’, decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions and resource use and leading the EU to climate neutrality by 2050. To meet this ambitious goal, the Green Deal as proposed by the European Commission aims to cut across public and private sectors and policy areas to mainstream sustainable development across the EU’s internal and external action. Strategies and legislative measures on biodiversity, forestry, energy, economy, mobility, agriculture, pollution and climate diplomacy are planned throughout 2020-2021, hand in hand with measures to ensure a just transition and guarantee that no regions or citizens are left behind.

These measures will require action from not just the EU, but also federal, regional and local public authorities, civil society and business organisations. And these first years are of vital importance – given that it takes 25 years to transform an industrial sector, to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, the main actions must be taken in the next five years. But what exactly will this entail? What are the key challenges and opportunities for the EU, member states and local authorities in these crucial first years of implementing the Green Deal?

Following the Commission’s communication on the European Green Deal of 11 December and the endorsement of the text by the European Council on 12 December, Kurt Vandenberghe will discuss the European Green Deal. He will outline the substance of the Green Deal and point out the key points and challenges involved in putting the proposal into practice.


Since December 2019, Kurt Vandenberghe has been advisor for the Green Deal in the cabinet of European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Before that, he worked at the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, holding the roles of Director for Policy & Programming, Acting Director for Research and Innovation Outreach, and formerly Director for Climate Action and Resource Efficiency. He previously worked in the Cabinet of Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin (1999-2004) and as Head of Cabinet of Janez Potocnik, who was Commissioner for Research and Innovation (2004-2009) and for the Environment (from 2010).

(Photo credit: European Committee of the Regions, Flickr)