A geopolitical EU should offer green innovation partnerships

(EurActiv, 18 Jan 2024) To reduce tensions and speed up the climate transition, the European Union needs to improve its offer on cooperation with other parts of the world, in particular the so-called ‘global South’, writes Mats Engström.

Mats Engström is Senior policy fellow for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

International tensions are growing over Europe’s climate action. At the climate meeting in Dubai, COP28, unilateral trade-related measures such as the carbon border adjustment mechanism were criticized. Trade restrictions to prevent deforestation and green subsidies are also stoking controversy.

To reduce tensions and speed up the climate transition, the European Union needs to improve its offer on cooperation with other parts of the world, in particular the so-called ‘global South’. This is now more recognised by decision-makers and good initiatives have been taken both within the Global Gateway and by individual member states. However, more is needed, in particular in view of competing offers from China.

Much is already done in the field of renewable energy. Now many partner countries are asking for cooperation on green industrial development. Here, the European Union can improve both the content and the coherence of its offers.

Member states can pool part of their income from the auctioning of emission allowances to support low-carbon demonstration projects and supporting infrastructure on other continents. This can be channelled through international institutions such as UNIDO, through a European Co-innovation and Green Tech Diffusion Fund, or both.

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EurActiv, 18 Jan 2024: A geopolitical EU should offer green innovation partnerships