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We need a true Green New Deal - Open Letter to the European Commission's President by economists, intellectuals and MEPs

Dear President von der Leyen,
across Europe, millions of student strikers, climate scientists, and concerned citizens stand united in the call to confront the environmental crisis and deliver a just transition.

In July, as a candidate awaiting confirmation to the Presidency of the European Commission, you pledged to deliver that transition. “This is the European way,” you wrote in the guidelines for the European Green Deal. “We are ambitious and we leave nobody behind.”

But the Green Deal that you have proposed fails completely to live up to this promise
The Green Deal is too slow: climate neutrality by 2050 is a death sentence for millions around the world. Given its high level of technological sophistication and its historic role in carbon emissions, the European Union can and must lead the way.

The Green Deal is too small: €110 billion worth of annual investment is only a fraction of the resources necessary to transition Europe’s industry, infrastructure, and agriculture away from fossil fuel dependence. Given its vast economic resources and institutional capacity, the European Investment Bank can and must do so much more.

And the Green Deal is too stuck to an economic model that prizes the competitiveness of European 'champions' over the security of its citizens. Given the scale of Europe’s social crisis and the suffering of its front-line communities, the European Commission can and must buck the dogma of endless GDP growth and directly address the problems of poverty and precarity rising across the continent.

In short, the plan you have presented is not a ‘Green New Deal’ (as many of us aspire— but a raw deal for Europe’s citizens and the future generations that will inherit this continent from them.

Europe’s economy is heading toward recession just as the climate catastrophe arrives at our doorstep. Tweaks and nudges are not enough; a radical overhaul of Europe’s economic policies will be necessary to deliver a just transition. The EU has all the institutions, resources, and policy instruments to introduce a Green New Deal for Europe. Now is the time to use them, because as Greta Thunberg reminds us, “change is coming, whether you like it or not.”


Ann Pettifor
Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME)

Jason Hickel
London School of Economics

James K. Galbraith
University of Texas

Bill McKibben

Eloi Badia
Barcelona En Comú

Fabio de Masi
Die Linke

Manon Aubry
Member of the European Parliament

Aurore Lalucq
Member of the European Parliament

Laurie Macfarlane

Laurent de Sutter 
Philosopher and Author

Daniela Gabor
University of the West of England

Kate Aronoff

Mathew Lawrence 
Common Wealth

Grace Blakeley
Writer and Researcher

Guy Standing
School of Oriental and African Studies

Ewan McGaughey
Senior Lecturer in Law, King’s College London

Yanis Varoufakis
The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, Greek MP

David Adler
The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025

Pawel Wargan 
The Green New Deal for Europe

Giorgos Kallis 
Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Will Stronge 

Riccardo Mastini 
Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Gerardo Pisarello 
Barcelona En Comú

Niccolò Milanese 
European Alternatives

Lavinia Steinfort 
Transnational Institute

Alexandra Louise Phillips 
Member of the European Parliament

Scott Ainslie 
Member of the European Parliament

Gina Dowding 
Member of the European Parliament

Laurie Laybourn-Langton
Researcher and author

Catherine Rowett 
Member of the European Parliament

Will Snell 
Tax Justice Network

Asad Rehman 
War on Want

Ruth London
Fuel Poverty Action

David Powell
New Economics Foundation

Selma James
Global Women's Strike

Nina López
Global Women’s Strike

Nicholas McNair 
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Prof Tim Jackson 
University of Surrey

Nick Jacobs 
International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)

Michele Fiorillo 
Scuola Normale Superiore - CIVICO Europa

Daniel Aldana Cohen 
University of Pennsylvania

César Simões da Fonseca 
Aalborg University

Luís Miguel Batista Jerónimo 

Francine Mestrum 
Global Social Justice

Raj Patel 
University of Texas at Austin

Molly Anderson 
Middlebury College

Emile Frison 
International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems

Sergi Corbalan 
Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Evan Weber 
Sunrise Movement

Judith Hitchman 
President, Urgenci International Community Supported Agriculture Network

Yannis Dafermos 
School of Oriental and African Studies

Maria Nikolaidi 
University of Greenwich

Alexander Ač
Global Change Research Institute, AS CR, Brno, Czech Republic

Will Clark 
Health Care Without Harm Europe

Meera Ghani 

Antonia Jennings 
Rethinking Economics

Filip Rosenkranc
Extinction Rebellion

Jakub Patočka
Deník Referendum

Arne Springorum
Extinction Rebellion

Nicoletta Dentico 
Society for International Development

Michaela Pixová 
Human geographer
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