Agenda Focus of EU Summit Talks Shifted to Covid Response

 The renewed focus on the COVID-19 crisis and delays with the European vaccination campaign are set to overshadow talks on how to align industrial policy with the EU's climate goals at an EU summit meeting on Thursday (25 March).

The EU is facing two crises - the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic - but while the European Commission has repeatedly said there is no vaccine for climate change, the topic is sorely lacking from the summit's March agenda.

In fact, the topic risks completely dropping off the agenda as EU leaders focus on COVID-19 and ongoing disputes with AstraZeneca despite significant milestones in climate policy coming up in the next few months.

"At the moment heads of state are definitely more focused on COVID-19, concerns about strategic dependencies in global supply chains and vaccine politics," warned Johanna Lehne, senior policy advisor at the climate think tank, E3G.

If climate policy is a top political item, it requires heads of state and finance ministers to be involved, she added.

Campaigners hoped this meeting would be the moment to align industry and climate policy, but while European leaders will exchange views on the single market, industrial policy and competition policy, the Commission's industrial strategy, which should have been released prior to the meeting, has been delayed until the end of April.

"Leaders should be discussing how to leverage the impact, size and integration of the EU's single market to drive the net-zero transition globally and ensure continued European competitiveness," said Lehne.

"As well as the climate imperative, there is a strong economic imperative to ensuring a better linkage of industrial policy and climate," said Lehne, pointing to competition on...

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