Europe’s leading response to the climate emergency

On 22 January, the press conference ‘Europe’s role in leading response to the climate emergency’ was held during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. The topic discussed was the following ‘How to build a more sustainable World?’.  Among the speakers were Mauro Ferrari, President of the European Research Council (ERC), and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

The European Commission has put climate change at the top of its agenda with the European Green Deal. During the press conference, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel presented the European Green Deal as a priority for the decade ahead: ‘becoming the first World climate neutral continent by 2050 is the greatest challenge and opportunity of our times’. In order to tackle climate change, the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth wants to secure European citizens engagement by focusing on training and education. Although she acknowledged that climate change is a great challenge, it is also an opportunity to show Europe’s global leadership if Europe succeeds to join efforts and actions.

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel also presented the creation of the European Innovation Council (EIC) as an asset to tackle climate change issues. Indeed, she underlined that 70% of EIC’s budgets is dedicated to SME’s in order to help them in their transition to reach sustainability. Although the Green Deal is ambitious, it preserves a human centric approach. Mariya Gabriel insisted on the inclusiveness of the EIC’s package of measures and the need to take into considerations the realities for companies.


‘Very often we are focused on the costs for actions, but we need to think more about the costs of non-action.’’

– Mariya Gabriel

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

For his part, Professor Mauro Ferrari agreed with Mariya Gabriel on the need to invest in science, research and youth, as well as to join efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The ERC President promoted cooperation between scientists from different fields, underlying the need to unite to tackle the climate change issue. The ERC funds science and ‘bottom up’ research ‘to create bridges’ according to M. Ferrari.

To conclude, ‘synergy’ was the keyword of this press conference, as both speakers have repeatedly used this expression to emphasise the need to cooperate and unite in the fight against climate change.

Watch the full press conference here.

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