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Briefing Notes (series)

The Green Deal in EU foreign and development policy


Chloe Teevan, Alfonso Medinilla and Katja Sergejeff, ECDPM brief, May 2021

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With the European Green Deal, the EU plans to make Europe climate neutral by 2050 and to become a global leader in tackling climate change. The Green Deal is slowly taking shape through a series of policy documents, action plans and laws, and has become one of the ‘policy fundamentals’ of the EU’s own post-COVID recovery. Yet, while the EU hopes to be a global leader on climate, the external dimension of the Green Deal is currently a little hazy.

This note lays out some aspects of the external dimension of the Green Deal, arguing that the EU is simultaneously taking a collaborative, a coercive and a diplomatic approach in its foreign and development policy. The collaborative approach can be seen in EU regional strategies for the Western Balkans, the Neighbourhood and Africa, and some of the development initiatives and investments that accompany them. The more coercive approach is more apparent in the EU’s desire to promote green transition elsewhere – or at least prevent carbon leakage – through the strength of its market. Finally, the diplomatic approach amounts to more traditional climate diplomacy vis-à-vis its partners – big and small. The note focuses particularly on how the EU might mitigate some of the potentially destabilising impacts of its own transition on partner countries and how to ensure that a global green recovery is accessible and beneficial to all.

This note is one of a three-part series produced in collaboration with the Open Society European Policy Institute. The series unpacks the evolving EU financial and policy framework for addressing climate and green transition in its external relations, focusing specifically on the (in)direct external effects of the European Green Deal, EU climate finance and international cooperation and the role of climate in the EU-Africa partnership.

Others notes in the series:

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Photo courtesy of Kristaps Ungurs via Unsplash.

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EU foreign and development policyBriefing Notes (series)Climate change