By Dimitris Dimitriadis, member of the EESC Employers' Group and president of the EESC External Relations Section

With its objective to decarbonise the EU economy, the European Green Deal is a game-changer that will revolutionise our economy, our society and our relations with the rest of the world.

With COP26, the urgency to act has finally been recognised by everyone. Meanwhile, the EU is still a frontrunner in this race against the clock: it is Europe's role to lead by example. It is also in our interest to modernise our economy quickly, remaining or becoming a world leader in recycling and the circular economy, carbon capture in the atmosphere, green hydrogen, solar and wind power plants.

Europe is the biggest global market, and the effects of us moving towards net-zero emissions, shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, and reducing energy dependency, will be felt everywhere. Just think of our oil and gas imports from Russia and Algeria.

In line with our traditional commitment to multilateralism, we need to consider repercussions on third countries and we must help the weaker countries, those that have contributed less to global warming but will pay a higher price for its consequences. Equally, the EU should start immediate negotiations with our closest neighbours, to help them reach their goals within the right timeframe.

The United States is still wary of our Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which they view as a possible protectionist measure. On the other hand, Europe cannot give up the mechanism as it is our way of preventing carbon leakage.

Concerning dependency from abroad, there is also the burning issue of critical raw materials. China provides 95% of all rare earths used in the world for new technologies. It is time to act and diversify our supply sources.

We have the science, technology, funding possibilities and ideas. What we don't have is time: the EU must act fast, and the EESC will follow developments, voicing the opinions and ideas of civil society at all stages.

Find the full article here: europa.eu/!39cXrP (kr)