The EESC June plenary hosted a debate with commissioner Maroš Šefčovič on the future of Europe's Energy Union and set out its stance on the proposed EU strategy for the long-term reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

A transition to a decarbonised Europe should be socially fair and efficient, with all players joining forces and doing their share, the EESC agreed, stressing the need for action beyond 2030. "There is recognition across Europe that action on climate is urgently needed," said Mr Šefčovič, adding that the climate had become one of the central electoral topics in the EU and that "In Europe we are finally looking at climate change as an opportunity to re-focus and re-organise our economy."

Mr Jahier was on the same page. He maintained that the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 was key to the future of Europe and wondered whether, despite much progress made in the fight against climate change, there would still be sufficiently ambitious policies and resources in place to underpin the long-term ambition of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The EESC endorsed the proposed EU strategy for the reduction of long-term greenhouse gas emissions and its objective of making the European Union a climate-neutral economy by 2050. In an opinion drawn up by Pierre Jean Coulon and Stefan Back, the Committee calls for a permanent dialogue with citizens and a socially fair transition. Furthermore, it argues that a new social compact should be agreed.

"Such a transition is possible and beneficial for Europe, but everybody must be on board - we all need to join forces to achieve this common goal. We cannot separate citizens from decision-makers," said Mr Coulon.

Mobility is key: it is one of the areas where progress is most needed and can be made. "We need to find solutions to reduce the EU's CO2 footprint without having a negative impact on its entire economy and society," argued Mr Back. "We could design, adopt and implement a carbon pricing system that takes into account its effects on businesses and citizens and is fully accepted by them," he concluded. (mp)