Nearly 300 votes against, only 207 in favor: Those were the final results of a vote in the European Parliament on the “Sustainable Use of Pesticides” directive, the landmark legislation of the European Union’sagriculture reforms. The plans would have cut back on pesticide and fertilizer use, as well as shifted a major part of Europe’s farmland use to organic. Now, the plans are all but dead, the architect of the European Green Deal has resigned, and next year’s EU elections are announcing a shift away from environmentalistideas.
The name “European Green Deal” was modeled after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) Green New Deal, and it promises cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and healthier lifestyles for consumers. But it does so at a significant expense to taxpayers and the economy. With an implementation price tag of $285 billion, the EU did not account for the ripple effects of the policy, ignoring its impact assessments.
In the majority of models presented in the assessment, it is anticipated that GDP will contract. This contraction is closely linked to the decline in employment, consumption, and exports. The impact on countries heavily dependent on export industries will be especially severe, as these industries employ people who have limited options for reemployment. While service sectors such as the financial industry will experience less impact, this will result in a widening disparity of opportunities within the labor market.
Another weight on existing inequalities will be rising energy prices for consumers. As the German energy shift has shown already, a quick change to renewable energy sources, arrived through subsidization programs, sharply increases consumer energy prices. Prices of energy, housing, and water are all projected to rise. Some energy sources could see price rises of over 70%. Employment in key energy sectors, including gas and coal, could drop by more than 15%, affecting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
As cuts to greenhouse gas emissions have become mandatory, the Dutch government sought to buy out livestock farmers from their professions, causing the now famous Dutch farmer protests last year. These protests not only caused a farmer’s party to win the Senate elections in the Netherlands, but they also contributed to the resignation of the government this year. The pushback against Brussels’s green policies has many parliamentarians in fear for their reelection for next year’s European Parliament vote in June 2024. Overall, polls show that the EU’s legislative body is expected to see a right-wing shift, with losses for social democrats and environmentalists alike.
The architect of the European Green Deal, Dutch politician Frans Timmermans, resigned recently to try his luck at national politics; French President Emmanuel Macron believes that agricultural reform should not be on the table as the war continues in Ukraine; and Central and Eastern European countries consider many of the planned reforms as discriminatory feel-good policy for the sake of the West’s good conscience.
The EU’s green reforms have been driven into a ditch because voters have woken up to the reality of dwindling purchasing power and the real costs of the green policies, which sounded better on paper than in practice.
Originally published here