A slightly quieter (but never dull) week over the Easter period has us contemplating what a ‘just transition’ means now and how this has changed since the Commission first launched its Green Deal in 2019. We also have good news with new laws on waste-shipping and environmental crime. On the editorial side, this week the editorial team also have an agri-heavy selection of META pieces, from animal welfare to soil to nitrate pollution (plus a bit of fun wink wink). 


PAUSE TO REFLECT: The concept of the just transition has been the linchpin of the current Commission’s flagship Green Deal. The term has been taken up with enthusiasm by NGOs and lobbyists alike over the last four years. So much so that it can sometimes feel like a case of semantic satiation. Likewise, amidst the overwhelming flood of crisis-news dominating our media feeds daily, we might wonder if our very understanding of what is ‘just’ is being tested. It is worth then stopping to reflect, what does a just transition mean?  

THE VISION: As the polycrisis – war, soaring living costs and widening inequalities – is being instrumentalised by right-wing populists, it is more important than ever to outline what is needed for people and the planet to thrive: a vision of a system on that meets social needs within planetary boundaries

CLEAR PICTURE: While some voices say what this vision entails is unclear, we beg to differ, having offered a letter to ministers just last month calling for an EU policy framework for a fair and just transition. Social and environmental actors are already putting their heads together to paint a picture of a liveable future that Europeans can believe in and support.


WELL-BEING ECONOMY: In this article with Social Europe, we go back to the fundamentals of a just transition and argue that universal basic services are key to achieving this vision. Rather than rolling out social-protection measures as an afterthought to compensate for the regressive effects of climate action, the EU needs to build a solid foundation of good public services that can contribute to a reduction of carbon emissions. A strong public transport system, investments in quality social housing, well-resourced schools that can serve healthy, sustainable food are all good examples of a solution that satisfies people’s needs while helping us stay on track to reach net zero by 2050. 

ON THE TOPIC OF JUSTICE: Last week the EU voted to ban plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries. For decades, Europe has shipped plastic trash overseas, shifting the burden onto people and nature in receiving countries. This vote represents an important step towards ending waste colonialism. 


AGRI-JUSTICE: As shown in recent news around farmers’ protests and the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (our take), one area where people are demanding justice is Europe’s agriculture. Our current food and farming system works for neither farmers nor our environment. In fact, it is rooted in perverse systems and structures that continue to enormously enrich a few powerful actors and – mega-lobbying interests – at the top while farmers struggle to make ends meet and people across Europe face skyrocketing food bills. At the same time, it is posing serious threats to the nature on which food production depends – and therefore Europe’s future food security. But as a recent study shows, we have an alternative agri-food model available to us: agroecology. Under agroecology, it shows that the benefits for nature, farmers, business, and society at large, would be enormous.  


REGISTER NOW: With current polling indicating big wins for the industry-friendly far-right in the upcoming EU elections, it is more important than ever to get out to vote to keep our environment at the top of the EU’s list of priorities. For those living abroad who want to vote at home, or in their country of residence, you may need to register. Find out here by when you need to do so. Got a lot on your plate? Don’t sweat it, here you can sign up for reminders to vote


TALK ABOUT IT: Social polarisation is a huge threat to democracy and sometimes in our hyperconnected world people outside of our bubble have never felt further away. That’s why the Real Deal project – in which the EEB is a partner – has launched a new forum My Real Deal allowing users to connect with people in different countries, who speak different languages, on any topic relating to Europe’s environmental policy.  


WE KNOW YOU WANT TO: We recently expanded our digital presence to Instagram and TikTok! We are also on Bluesky. Give us a follow and don’t miss our latest green updates and work at the EU level and beyond.


APPLY NOW: We are currently on the lookout for a (Senior) Policy Officer for Mercury and a Head of HR. Check out our website for more information about the roles and the application process.