Like Flemish Energy Minister Zuhal Demir and French President Emmanuel Macron, Alexander De Croo is in favour of a “pause” in European climate legislation, the Belgian Prime Minister said on VRT’s Terzake programme on Tuesday evening.
“At some point, you have to make a choice. Is this the right time to do everything at once?” he asked.
For De Croo, legislation should not be “overloaded” by tightening standards for nitrogen, nature restoration and biodiversity, in addition to targets for CO2 emissions.
That would have two negative consequences, he said: firstly, industry would not be able to keep up, and the CO2 reduction targets would not be met, and secondly, the current climate momentum would be lost.
“That’s why I’m asking to press ‘pause’. Let’s not go too far with things that, strictly speaking, have nothing to do with global warming,” the Prime Minister recommended. “These other issues are just as important, but they need to be phased in more.”
The first reactions to the Prime’s Minister’s remarks were not long in coming.
Zuhal Demir said she was “surprised.” “The federal government’s shift is a good thing, but it’s not enough,” the Flemish energy minister said.
Coalition-partner Groen deemed De Croo’s statements “scandalous” and said they were “not covered by the government.”
“European agreements are not paper rags,” Groen co-chairs Jeremie Vaneeckhout and Nadia Naji commented. “Nature and climate are inseparable. It is not a pause that we need, but an acceleration.”