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The European elections in 2024 could be a crucial moment for the development of new ambitious energy and climate goals for the EU, for the continuation of the ones set during the last five years, or even for a complete disruption of these policies. The latter scenario cannot be ruled out, as the next European Parliament will probably see increased representation for conservative and less-climate-friendly parties. Furthermore, the energy crisis created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine will still play a crucial role in the definition of energy policies in Europe. According to some recent polls, the political groups expected to lose more members of the European Parliament are the populars and the greens, in a potential blow to the agenda set by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Apart from the political counts, it is rather clear that the new EU legislature, ending in 2029, will be fundamental in shaping the decision made by Brussels leading to the climate target deadline set by 2030. The recent energy crisis led to the rise of the cost of living all over the continent, with the consequent growth of the inflation rate and the prompt response of the European Central Bank. All the European governments are aware of the difficulties of balancing climate goals, the needs of national economies, and the problems facing their citizens. In this way, it will not be an easy choice between the European interests and the national ones, as the election campaign could well echoes such a dichotomy. To add some complexity to this frame, we also have to consider how European citizens became aware of climate change and its effects in the last few years, due to the general rise of temperatures, especially felt in the summer, but also record droughts that affected the agriculture sector, devastating wildfires, and floods, all in the context of a dramatic lack of readiness by national governments and local institutions to face the emergency. Climate and energy goals will probably be one of the main issues on the political agenda leading to the 2024 European elections and will shape the debate in forming the majority in the European Parliament.
Written by: Francesco Marino