PES Environment Network: This is Europe’s opportunity to seize a more sustainable future


ENVI videoconference

Members of the PES Environment Network meeting by videoconference

The post COVID-19 recovery must put social and ecological sustainability at its core: now is the time to rethink our economy so it puts people first and respects the limits of the planet, the PES Environment Network concluded today during a videoconference.

PES member parties, PES member organisations, MEPs and trade unions convened to discuss how Europe can transition from the coronavirus crisis to a more sustainable future anchored around the European Green Deal.

Javi Lopez MEP, meeting Chair, said:

“We are just starting to glimpse the path out of the coronavirus emergency. It is important that we get the recovery right. It is not about recuperation of what was lost. It is about rebuilding our economies in a new way, so they are even stronger and fairer.

“Some voices have been quick to demand a moratorium on the ecological transition. This is the wrong perspective - it is not a choice between the economy and the environment. The European Green Deal must be the basis of the economic recovery and socio-economic convergence within the EU. It should be seen as the new EU growth strategy, and it must now be accelerated.

“The debate on a European Recovery Fund of around €1.5 trillion to work as a vehicle for cohesion, stability and solidarity in every Member State is crucial. European solidarity is needed now more than ever. This massive necessary investment package would be financed by a strong MFF, existing EU funds and financial instruments, and recovery bonds guaranteed by the EU budget. The money that we will invest, as Europeans, in building and rebuilding our economies must be used to create societies that are more just, more equal, and more green in line with the principles of the European Green deal.

“The Green Deal is not only about the ecological transition. It is in equal part about strengthening social sustainability and fairness through the transformations that lay ahead, making use of the Just Transition Mechanism and Just Transition Fund. This will be central as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis. We are strongly supporting the efforts of Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who is pushing this approach forward in the European Commission.”

The Network was briefed on EU Climate Law by Jytte Guteland MEP, S&D Environment Committee Coordinator and Climate law rapporteur. The Climate Law is a historic chance to drive forward the progressive ambition to make Europe a climate-neutral continent.  The Network’s agenda also included discussion of two policy documents – a paper and brochure – which focus on achieving a green economic recovery and a circular economy.

Action on climate, which is being spearheaded in the European Commission by Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, is a priority for socialists and democrats. It was a central thread of the PES 2019 European elections manifesto and a progressive priority for the Europe Commission’s Work Programme.


The meeting was attended by:

Javi Lopez, Chair of the PES Environment Climate Change & Energy Network, Member of the European Parliament, PSC Spain

Maria João Rodrigues, President FEPS, Chair of the PES Financial and Economic Network

Miriam Dalli, S&D Vice President for the European Green Deal, Member of the European Parliament, Labour, Malta

Jytte Guteland, S&D Coordinator in the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Member of the European Parliament, SAP Sweden

Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Member of the European Parliament, SDP Finland

Delara Brukhardt, Member of the European Parliament, SPD Germany

Tiemo Woelken , Member of the European Parliament, SPD Germany

Mohammed Chahim, Member of the European Parliament, PvdA Netherlands

Nicolás González Casares, Member of the European Parliament, PSOE, Spain

Alicia Homs Ginel, Member of the European Parliament, President of YES, PSOE Spain

Marcos Ros Sempere, Member of the European Parliament, PSOE Spain

Erik Bergkvist, Member of the European Parliament, SAP Sweden

Ludovic Voet, Confederal Secretary, ETUC

Jani Makraduli, Deputy Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, SDSM North Macedonia

Zefi Dimadama, Vice-President, PES Women

Elisha Winckel, Vice-President, YES

Roby Biwer, Coordinator ENVE Commission, Committee of the Regions, LSAP Luxembourg

Balázs Bárány, International Secretary, MSZP Hungary

Ioannis Dalmas, EU Secretary, Movement for Change, Greece

Claudia Frunzete, International Secretariat, PSD Romania

Maria Panayiotou, Spokesperson, EDEK Cyprus

Rudolf Rechsteiner, SDP Switzerland

Charlotte Billingham, Senior Policy Adviser, FEPS

Francesco Carteri, Policy Adviser, PES Group in the CoR

Cyrille Cornerotte, Adviser, PS Belgium

Xavier Dutrenit, Political Adviser for Substantiable Development, S&D Group in the EP

Olga Fotinou, Policy Adviser, PES Group in the CoR

Alexandros Karydis, Movement for Change, Greece

Nathan Lallemand, Adviser, PS Belgium

Corina Popa, Political Adviser, S&D Group in the EP

Susanne Reither, Political Adviser, S&D Group in the EP

Justus Schönlau, Policy Adviser, PES Group in the CoR