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Breaking news: Read the leaked EU document that reveals strategic plan to weaken Europe’s climate agenda

A leaked draft from the European Council lays bare the EU’s strategic agenda for the next five years. We Don’t Have Time can now reveal that the document shockingly downplays Europe’s climate agenda.
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We Don’t Have Time has obtained a leaked draft of the European Council’s strategic agenda for 2024-2029. Once adopted, this high-level document will define the EU's most important political priorities after the 2024 elections.
For anyone concerned about the climate crisis, the leaked document is not a pleasant read.
The strategic agenda of the European Union focuses on a number of priorities for the upcoming five years. It also sets out how to achieve those objectives. The current agenda, for 2019-2024, has four main priorities. One of them is: Building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe.
This priority has been the driving factor behind the European Green Deal, and a main reason why Europe is considered a world leader in terms of climate action.
But this might now drastically change.
The leaked draft of the coming five-year agenda clearly shows that climate is not to be considered a main priority of the European Union. The priority headline about a climate-neutral Europe has been deleted, and the word ”climate” is only mentioned twice in the whole document.
During a press briefing on the strategic agenda on April 2, Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said:
”By now, we have identified together a set of clear priorities, which converge towards delivering a powerful common goal – a strong, prosperous and democratic Union”.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council. Photo: European Union
Charles Michel, president of the European Council. Photo: European Union

He did not provide any details about the new Agenda's priorities, but the leaked document makes it brutally clear what these new priorities are – and what has been excluded.
While the former agenda called for stepping up climate action on multiple levels to ensure that EU policies are consistent with the Paris Agreement, the leaked draft doesn’t mention the need for urgent climate action at all. It says that Europe should ”promote innovation and research, including in the field of defence and to accompany Europe towards climate neutrality”. It also notes that Europe should ”prepare for the new realities stemming from climate change.”
That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing about how the Green Deal enhances competitiveness and creates thousands of new jobs; nothing about nature and biodiversity; nothing about pollution and health; and nothing about the need for urgent climate action to curb emissions in time.
This proposed downgrading comes at a time when climate action has never been more urgent. Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change, said in a speech earlier this week:
”The next two years are essential in saving our planet. We still have a change to make greenhouse emissions tumble, with a new generation of climate plans. But we need there stronger plans, now.”
Ingmar Rentzhog, CEO and founder of We Don’t Have Time, says the content of the leaked document is extremely concerning.
”It’s obvious that powerful fossil fuel interests have a strong ability to influence political leadership in many European countries. But what is extra worrying this time is that they seem to be succeeding in playing down the EU climate agenda already before the upcoming EU elections.”
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This leaked draft of the EU Strategic Agenda is an internal working document, which means it can still be improved. But because of the upcoming European Elections, it is more likely that the final version will be even more watered-down than the draft.
The draft version has already passed through the first two phases. The first was The letter of intent, sent by President Charles Michel, President of the European Council, to the Heads of State and government on June 24, 2023. The second was the Granada Declaration, which was adopted by the member states on October 6, 2023.
The next important step is the informal Council Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on April 17. At this summit, EU leaders might adopt another declaration. If not, the document will be finally approved at the European Council Summit on 27-28 June, approximately three weeks after the European Parliament Election on 6-9 June.
Once the election results are known, Charles Michel will draft the final text of the Strategic Agenda for sign-off by the Member States.
And that’s when things might become even more worrying.
370 million Europeans are eligible to vote in the upcoming European Parliament Election.
370 million Europeans are eligible to vote in the upcoming European Parliament Election.

Several polls so far have shown that this election might bring significantly more power to the parties that are already today lobbying for a weakened climate agenda in Europe. In a new report, titled ”A Sharp Right Turn: A Forecast for the 2024 European Parliament Elections,” the authors warn that “a populist right coalition of Christian democrats, conservatives, and radical right MEPs could emerge with a majority for the first time” in the history of the European Parliament.
According to the authors, such a “sharp right turn” is ”likely to have significant consequences for European-level policies, which will affect the foreign policy choices that the EU can make, particularly on environmental issues, where the new majority is likely to oppose ambitious EU action to tackle climate change.”
The good news is that there is still time to call on EU leaders to rework this draft and re-introduce climate action as a main priority in the strategic agenda.
But how?
Here are two ways you can help push for the EU to strengthen its climate policy instead of going in another direction:
  • Inform the media. One of the best ways to get political leaders to act and react is via TV, newspapers, and other news media. Find the contact info of the news editors on the website of your favorite news organization, and inform them about the leaked document. You can use this pre-written message when sending your email. 
  • Vote. If you are a European citizen, vote for the climate in the upcoming European Parliament. Read up on your candidates and vote for those who support – and push fore – an ambitious climate agenda.

ABOUT: THE EU STRATEGIC AGENDA
  • Every five years, EU leaders agree on the EU's political priorities for the future. It is a collective effort led by the President of the European Council, where leaders discuss and decide together. It takes place in the context of the European Parliament elections and ahead of the appointment of each European Commission.
  • Charles Michel, President of the European Council, is leading the process by working collectively and inclusively with EU countries' leaders.
  • The informal European Council meeting on 6 October 2023 in Granada, Spain, was the first time EU leaders had debated future priorities for the strategic agenda.
  • In November 2023 President Michel launched a round of consultations to deepen discussions on key questions related to policies, financing and decision-making. The first of these consultations took place in Berlin, Copenhagen, Zagreb and Paris. In April 2024, the second consultation round will take place in Vilnius, Bucharest, Warsaw and Vienna.
  • The strategic agenda is set to be adopted in June 2024.

  • Cate Wangari

    3 w

    We need a better quest not a worrying quest.

    • DIPANJANA MAULIK

      4 w

      The WDHT is pushing so much momentum that I hope that EU shall take the right direction in this cross road by making right choices. Today's briefing that climate legislation has already been completed in fit for 55 packages and adoption of directives in energy performance in buildings are indications of that positivity. Good work of today shall lead to good results of tomorrow.

      3
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          • 1
                • We Don't Have Time

                  4 w

                  EU commission in Denmark writes about us: https://denmark.representation.ec.europa.eu/news/eu-i-dagens-aviser-mandag-den-15-april-2024-2024-04-15_da

                  1
                  • We Don't Have Time

                    4 w

                    Austria's largest eco newspaper writes about this story: https://www.oekonews.at/?mdoc_id=1186960

                    1
                    • Odd Klofsten

                      5 w

                      Do anyone have a list of email adresses to Swedish media journalists? You/The platform encourage me to send a message to the journalists, but it would be of great help if I had these adresses :-)

                      4
                      • johnte ndeto

                        5 w

                        It sounds like there's a critical window of opportunity to influence the direction of EU policy, especially regarding climate action.

                        3
                        • Alireza Makvandi

                          5 w

                          Previously, we prepared a report on climate change for the European countries around the Mediterranean, the different dimensions of the occurrence of new earthquakes, the occurrence of new volcanoes, water stress and floods, and we also considered solutions for them, and we can say that this report is for the next 50 years. These countries can be useful.

                          4
                          • Gorffly mokua

                            5 w

                            It is concerning to hear that there may be a plan to weaken Europe's climate agenda, especially given the urgent need for action on the climate crisis!

                            6
                          • Carl Page

                            5 w

                            The only chance left is to figure out what nuclear power would be in 2024. None of us has any clue because no one has redesigned it for 60 years. What is the document say about nuclear? Are we going to try to build something new? Something safer? Something cheaper? Something manufacturable? Don't wait for fusion! As fission hasn't been updated for 60 years, it could be a lot better.

                            6
                            • Ted Weber

                              5 w

                              @carl_page Germany made a terrible decision by closing all its nuclear plants and increasing its burning of coal.

                              3
                            • Jean Julius Vernal

                              5 w

                              It's indeed concerning news. Despite reports of policy paralysis over the years, the EU seemed to hold the most promise among all blocs. Its citizens and public-private entities have been vocal advocates for addressing climate change and prioritizing energy transition and efficiency. Let's hope that appropriate corrective actions are taken to address these challenges.

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                              • M O

                                5 w

                                Instead of fighting climate change the document literally says "Prepare for the new realities stemming from climate change" - that really hits home what their priorities are. This line is part of a section about the TWIN transition, grouping together digital and clean technologies. E.g. "Encourage investments in [...] AI, exploiting the untapped potential of data" - data warehouses already account for 2.5% to 3.7% of all greenhouse gas emissions and are rapidly rising.

                                6
                                • Christina Björn

                                  5 w

                                  We must let people know this and help them vote for the right side!

                                  6
                                  • Magnus Granér

                                    5 w

                                    This honestly seems like fiction, but it’s not..! 😤

                                    5
                                    • Marilyn Mehlmann

                                      5 w

                                      Unbelievable. I'll vote for whoever pledges to REMOVE SUBSIDIES to the fossil fuel industry. If anyone is bold enough.

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                                      • Albin Pålsson

                                        5 w

                                        This is the flipside of a democracy. When lobbyists gets to much influence over policymakers, it makes them codependet of each outher. And if the biggest players are big and dirty corporations, then its a big problem for every freeman who want a green future.

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                                        • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

                                          5 w

                                          I had a lot of trust in EU on the fight against climate change.I still in shock for such worrying news!

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                                          • mary Mwihaki

                                            5 w

                                            This is worrying action should be taken .

                                            6
                                            • George Kariuki

                                              5 w

                                              This is terrible news for our planet! The leaked EU draft agenda weakens climate action exactly when it needs to be strengthened. We can't let this happen!

                                              5
                                              • Rashid Kamau

                                                5 w

                                                It's worrisome for EU being on the forefront backtracking the pressing issue that tend to be of prioritization concern.

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                                                • Patrick Kiash

                                                  5 w

                                                  Very shocking news... I wish the 370 million Europeans eligible to vote will make a sober choice as they cast their votes. Their choice can save a lot between 2024-2029.

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                                                  • Jane Wangui

                                                    5 w

                                                    This is quite alarming..it is the time to move forward and to engage ourselves in thing that don't impact positively on the environment.

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                                                    • Johannes Luiga

                                                      5 w

                                                      Very important

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                                                      • Adam Wallin

                                                        5 w

                                                        Fact resistance and populism is booming. It's more important than ever that the voters are educated about climate issues and know how to take those into consideration when they vote. We don't have time for politicians to be our main sources of information, NGOs and serious media organizations need to be given more space in the discussion.

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                                                        • Christina Carlmark

                                                          5 w

                                                          Scary news! Even more important to vote for more climate action in the upcoming EU election.

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                                                          • Saustine Lusanzu

                                                            5 w

                                                            This is stressing actually

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                                                            • sadu wasiu

                                                              5 w

                                                              Oh my goodness

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                                                              • Ted Weber

                                                                5 w

                                                                Such folly must be stopped.

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                                                                • walter lungayi

                                                                  5 w

                                                                  This is so disappointing. Quick action should be done to prevent this from occurring.

                                                                  6
                                                                  • Victor Erik Ramos

                                                                    5 w

                                                                    Its as if the heatwaves, fires, droughts and floodings of 2023 were all forgotten...

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                                                                    • zelda ninga

                                                                      3 w

                                                                      @victor_erik_As long as they can access wherever they like and buy all the things they need to make their small world better, then all the calamities happening around the world don't matter to them.

                                                                    • Marine Stephan

                                                                      5 w

                                                                      This is extremely worrying... at a time when we need bold and ambitious climate policies, we simply don't have time for this.

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                                                                      • Gorffly mokua

                                                                        5 w

                                                                        @marine_stephan True! The climate crisis is an urgent matter that requires immediate action from all political leaders and citizens..

                                                                        3
                                                                      • Catarina Rolfsdotter-Jansson

                                                                        5 w

                                                                        Extremely worrying!

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