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Thursday, September 28, 2023

EU focuses five-year agenda on protecting citizens, economy, climate

The European Union (EU) will seek to protect its citizens while boosting the economy, fighting climate change and bolstering the bloc’s global role.

European Parliament
The European Parliament

This is according to a draft document, which sets out priorities for the next European Commission for 2024.

The next European Commission is to take up its work in November following EU-wide elections in July.

A high-stakes political race is under way to appoint the next president of the commission.

The draft agenda, prepared for a meeting of EU leaders from June 10 to 15, stresses that “first and foremost we must ensure the integrity of our physical space,’’ drawing the lessons from a migration influx in 2015 to 2016.

“We need to know and be the ones to decide who sets foot on EU territory,’’ the document adds. It also vows to fight terrorism, cyberattacks and hybrid warfare.

The draft agenda stresses the need to tackle the “existential threat’’ of climate change.

“We urgently need to step up our action,’’ it says, while noting that this must take account of “national circumstances’’ and be socially just.

The issue was a key topic during the European Parliament elections, delivering a boost to green parties across the bloc in the wake of recent youth climate protests.

But the Greenpeace campaign group slammed the EU for merely giving the climate crisis a “polite mention.’’

“European leaders are feeling the pressure to talk big on climate, but their ‘strategic agenda’ is more of a collection of buzzwords than an emergency response to humanity’s greatest threat,’’ said Greenpeace EU director, Jorgo Riss.

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