EU Green Deal

Why is this topic a priority for the EU?

Climate change and global warming are an existential threat to Europe and the world. Environmental quality is central to our health, our economy and our well-being. However, it faces several serious challenges: the loss of biodiversity, unsustainable consumption and production, as well as various forms of pollution.

Combating climate change is an primary objective of the EU environmental policy. EU countries have agreed to meet various targets in the years to come, in particular reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 which would make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. The EU seeks to ensure that climate concerns are taken on board in other policy areas as well, including construction, biodiversity, energy, transport and food.

To ensure that its climate goals are met, the EU formulates and implements various climate policies, initiatives and funding instruments. These include the European Green Deal, the Just Transition Mechanism and the European Climate Pact.

Relevant EU Policies and Objectives 

The European Green Deal

The European Green Deal sets out a plan of action to make the EU’s economy sustainable in a way that is fair and inclusive. To fight climate change and achieve the transition to a climate-neutral society the EU will provide significant investments for research and innovation to work out new ways of producing and consuming and to foster changes in the way we work, use transport and live together. One third of the 1.8 trillion euro investments from the NextGenerationEU Recovery Plan, and the EU’s seven-year budget will finance the European Green Deal.

The European Green Deal includes concrete actions to:

  • ensure that there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy
  • restore biodiversity and cut pollution

How will it impact Irish civil society organisations? 

Civil society organisations acting at member states’ level play a crucial role to mobilise and strengthen civic participation and contribution to the implementation of the European Green Deal. Civil society organisations also have the opportunity to apply for EU funding programmes and turn the EU climate objectives into reality under diverse calls for projects:

  • Programme for Environment and Climate Action (LIFE): To achieve the shift towards a sustainable, circular and resilient economy, protect and restore the environment, halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
  • Horizon Europe: Scientific, technological, economic, environmental and societal impact; support to all forms of research and innovation.
  • Just Transition Fund: Supporting the transition towards climate neutrality by alleviating its socio-economic impact in the regions most affected.

Just Transition Mechanism

The Just Transition Mechanism is a key tool to ensure that the transition towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind. It provides targeted support to help mobilise at least €65-75 billion over the period 2021-2027 to ease the socio-economic impact of the transition. The Just Transition Mechanism addresses the social and economic effects of the transition focusing on regions that are the most carbon-intensive or with the most people working in fossil fuels.

In addition to large budget schemes the Just Transition Mechanism foresees to support people and citizens most vulnerable to the transition by:

  • facilitating employment opportunities in new sectors and those in transition
  • offering re-skilling opportunities
  • improving energy-efficient housing
  • investing to fight energy poverty
  • facilitating access to clean, affordable and secure energy

How will it impact Irish civil society organisations? 

Irish civil society organisations and SMEs will have the opportunity to benefit from a broad range of funding opportunities e.g.

  • The Just Transition Fund of €17.5 billion, is expected to mobilise close to €30 billion in investments.
  • The InvestEU "Just Transition" scheme will provide a budget under the InvestEU programme.

European Climate Pact

In addition to the EU Green Deal, the European Climate Pact is an EU-wide initiative aimed at engaging people, communities and organisations to participate in climate action. The Pact invites the public to engage directly with environmental issues through regional and local events. It is an opportunity to

  • Learn about climate change
  • Develop and scale up solutions
  • Connect with others and maximise the impact of these solutions
  • Support the climate movement

How will it impact Irish civil society organisations? 

The European Climate Pact intends to provide a space for people across all walks of life to connect and collectively develop and implement climate solutions. The Pact will focus on spreading awareness and supporting action.

There are multiple opportunities for Irish civil society to actively take part:

Useful Links

Just Transition Mechanism

European Climate Pact

European Green Deal

Have Your Voice Heard

Decisions that are made at the EU level can have a big impact on our daily lives. At The Wheel we believe that citizens’ active participation in society is vital so they can play a part in influencing the decisions that affect them.

Here’s how you can connect with the EU:

Join is an online community of pan-European active citizens interested in learning from each other and finding common ground on EU issues. Created by the European Parliament during the 2019 European elections, encourages everybody to participate in democracy through virtual events and activities.   

In the lead-up to May 2019, volunteers helped raise awareness about the issues that matter most to them, their friends and families. From climate change to data protection, thousands of EU citizens throughout Europe organised activities, events and debates to remind others that participation in pan-European platforms is essential to dealing with today's challenges.

Check out the latest events organised by the European Parliament and the community, happening online and across Europe, by joining  here.  


Vote in European elections and get to know your MEPs 

Following the European elections in May 2019, 11 MEPs representing Ireland's three constituencies, Dublin, South and Midlands-North-West, took their seats in the European Parliament on 2 July 2019 for Parliament's 9th term. 

With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 31 January 2020, Ireland gained an additional two MEPs.  Barry Andrews (Fianna Fáil/ Renew Europe), Dublin, and Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael/ EPP), South, took up their seats in the European Parliament on 1 February 2020. 

Who are your MEPs and how can you contact them? We have gathered the information for you here.

Engage in EU-funded projects  

Through involvement in EU-funded projects, you’ll deliver on current EU policy and programme goals while helping to shape future policy.

Learn more about the various EU funding programmes and the projects they support here.

This page was brought to you by #EUEngage.

View the latest funding from the EU