21 Jun 2021

Online Conference – "A Green Deal for the Globe: European Union External Action and the International Just Transition"

Online Conference

Natolin (Warsaw) Campus
ul. Nowoursynowska 84
PL-02/797 Warszawa

Natolin (Warsaw) Campus

The Energy & Climate Governance Nest at the College of Europe in Natolin organized the international conference "A Green Deal for the Globe: European Union External Action and the International Just Transition"

"A Green Deal for the Globe: European Union External Action and the International Just Transition"

The conference took place online on 21 June 2021. The conference provided an interdisciplinary platform, where researchers and representatives from across the energy, climate and environment spectrum could discuss topics related to the European Union’s external actions and the Just Transition in its broadest sense; offering a critical analysis of the EU’s climate and energy-related action abroad to date, its impact on foreign countries and international organizations, including the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy, and providing perspectives on possible alternatives or further actions.

After the careful peer-review of submitted research papers, undertaken by the conference’s committee of academics and practitioners, we aim to publish a selection of conference papers in an academic publication in order for the conference to be of lasting value to the European community.

Manuel Marín (2018/2019) students at the COP24 in Katowice

In the year of COP26 when COVID-19 is exacerbating global inequalities, there is a need to further our understanding of the European Union’s role and responsibilities as a global climate actor. By bringing together researchers from a range of backgrounds and perspectives, this conference aimed to facilitate knowledge sharing to progress in the debate on what a Just Transition entails and how the European Union can help secure it domestically and internationally. 

Background to the Conference

The end of 2019 marked the start of the European Green Deal, the plan agreed by the European Union to make the bloc carbon neutral by 2050. Often described as the most ambitious supranational commitment in the world, the Deal sets a mid-term target of reducing the 1990 carbon emission levels by 55% by 2030, so the clock is already ticking.

But more than just a simple commitment to decarbonisation, the Deal also sets itself up to usher in an era of ‘Just Transition’, highlighting the social and political issues at the heart of the fight against climate change. These issues don’t just apply to the domestic agendas of the EU27: the proposal for a carbon border tax on imports will have significant impacts on job creation and sustainable development in emerging economies. With developed countries so far failing to meet their commitment to mobilise $100 billion a year for climate action in developing countries, and global adaptation finance falling woefully short, the question of how the European Union can mobilise states and private actors both in the EU and internationally remains central to achieving a truly Just Transition.

H.E. Mrs Patricia ESPINOSA at the College of Europe in Natolin

This is just one example of the issues surrounding the Green Deal, raising the question of how economic relations, ethical considerations and international obligations might come to play a greater part in the EU’s external action in the age of climate crisis. A lot has changed in the world since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, not least in the EU. For one, the climate emergency is climbing up domestic and international political agendas. This year, COP26, recovery from COVID-19 and a new US President present huge possibilities for leaders to make ambitious commitments. It is more important than ever to understand and assess Europe’s global position and foreign policy as it relates to climate change, review its achievements so far and discuss what challenges and opportunities the EU may face in the coming years.

Conference Objectives

This conference focused on analysing the use of diverse EU foreign policy instruments in furthering the Just Transition and assess the EU's influence in global climate governance. It also considered the role of the EU’s Sustainable Finance agenda, its banking sector and private capital in supporting climate action. It looked at the EU’s action at home, in its neighbourhood and further afield. It sought to address not only the issue of decarbonisation and climate change mitigation, but also the role of resilience and adaptation across societies and ecosystems.

The conference provided an opportunity to consider the EU’s role in addressing global climate and energy issues by bringing together academics and experts from a range of disciplines, and in doing so create space for a constructive discussion. The conference sought to reflect on how the European Union’s external action has contributed to the fight against climate change and pursued a Just Transition so far, while also providing recommendations for the future of EU climate diplomacy, international development, and economic policy.

Conference Committee Members

  • Ms Katarzyna SZWARC, London School of Economics, Grantham Institute Policy Fellow, Conference Committee Co-chair
  • H.E. Ambassador Artur LORKOWSKI, Special Envoy to COP24, Conference Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Matthew AGARWALA, University of Cambridge, Bennett Institute for Public Policy
  • Prof. Christian EGENHOFER, College of Europe, Centre for European Policy Studies, Energy Climate House
  • Prof. Suranjali TANDON, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy 
  • Ms Vonda BRUNSTING, Program Manager, Harvard Kennedy School, the Hauser Institute for Civil Society 
  • Prof. Dirk BUSCHLE, Chairholder of the Energy Policy Chair, College of Europe, Energy Community Secretariat

Conference Video and Programme

PLease find below the video of the live-stream and the full programme of the Conference:

9h00-9h40 // OPENING REMARKS
  • Vice-Rector Mrs Ewa OŚNIECKA-TAMECKA, College of Europe
  • Rector Mrs Federica MOGHERINI, College of Europe
  • Ms Joanna RYŁKO, Student of the European Interdisciplinary Studies programme at the College of Europe in Natolin
  • Ms Getrude BOMA, Youth Climate Activist and Founder of the NGO "Eco-Heroes"
9h45-11h00 // PANEL 1: TRADE FOR CLIMATE?

Moderated by Prof. Dirk BUSCHLE, Deputy Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, Chairholder of the European Energy Policy Chair and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and Natolin

  1. "Comfortably Numb? The Implementation of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment’s Sustainability Commitments and the External Dimension of the European Green Deal"
    by Mr Paolo MAZZOTTI, Faculty of Law of the University of Trento, Italy and LLM candidate in International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
  2. "EU’s critical raw materials security: Reducing reliance on China’s supply"
    by Dr Xinchuchu GAO, Visiting Fellow at King’s College London and Dr Kaho YU, Principal Energy Analyst at Verisk Maplecroft
  3. "European Parliaments as drivers of the international Just Transition in the context of the EU’s most recent Free Trade Agreements"
    by Mr Paulien VAN DE VELDE-VAN RUMST, PhD Researcher at the European University Institute, Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)

Q&A Session


Moderated by Prof. Suranjali TANDON, Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi

  1. "Carbon Border Adjustment Measure as a trade policy instrument to achieve global climate neutrality"
    by Prof. Jarosław PIETRAS, Professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Warsaw and Visiting Professor at College of Europe in Bruges
  2. "Applying climate ethics to policy: the case of EU-China border carbon adjustments"
    by Mr Kevin LE MERLE, Student of the European Interdisciplinary Studies programme at the College of Europe in Natolin
  3. "Proposal for a Kilometric Carbon Tax"
    by Mr Lyes DJAOUD & Mr Tancrède BOUGLÉ
  4. "Sustainable Taxation in the Service of the European Green Deal and the Global Just Transition"
    by Mr Michael RICHTER, College of Europe Alumnus (Hannah Arendt Promotion 2019/2020) and currently PhD Research Fellow as part of the ITN MARKETS (MSCA Grant) Programme at the University of Bremen, and Mr Jakub A. BARTOSZEWSKI of the Texas A&M University

Q&A Session

*** 12h45-14h00 Lunch Break ***


Moderated by Mr Pedro José DE SOUSA MENDES, Student of the European Interdisciplinary Studies programme at the College of Europe in Natolin, Master of Science in Engineering Physics at the University of Lisbon and European Climate Pact Ambassador

  1. "The Energy Union: A Solid Foundation for the European Green Deal?"
    by Mr Max MÜNCHMEYER, PhD Researcher in the Department of Law of the European University Institute in Florence
  2. "The European Union as an effective actor in climate change negotiations in the International Maritime Organisation"
    by Ms Ina MIŠKULIN, LLM candidate at the Trinity College Dublin, KU Leuven Masters of International Politics candidate and Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Croatia to the EU for Shipping, Maritime Affairs and Aviation
  3. "Soft to be Strong: The use of bilateral soft-law in the EU Environmental External Action"
    by Mr Francesco SPERA, Research Assistant in European Law at the University of Salento, Lecce, & Ms Francesca LEUCCI, PhD Candidate in Law and Economics (Bologna, Rotterdam, Hamburg)
  4. "Just Transition in EU External Action: Conceptualizing EU efforts to promote just transition to a global low-carbon future"
    by Mr Ronan MCLAUGHLIN, Student of the International Relations and Diplomacy Studies programme at the College of Europe in Bruges

Q&A Session

15h30-16h00 // CLOSING REMARKS
  • Ms Afaf LAMKOUTAR, Student of the European Interdisciplinary Studies programme at the College of Europe in Natolin
  • Ms Katarzyna SZWARC, Grantham Institute Policy Fellow at the London School of Economics
  • H.E. Ambassador Artur LORKOWSKI, Special Envoy to COP24

Please find below a gallery of photos of the Online International Conference "A Green Deal for the Globe: European Union External Action and the International Just Transition".

Online International Conference "A Green New Deal for the Globe"

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