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#QuestionsToCandidates: Implementing the EU Green Directive, ensuring sustainability and social equity

The EU's green directive imposes energy efficiency goals for buildings, with costs borne by citizens. How can this directive be respected without fueling populism and allowing environmental sustainability to become a true European issue?

4 June 2024

The EU's Green Directive aims to enhance energy efficiency in buildings, but concerns about its implementation and potential social impact have sparked debate. As European elections approach, candidates discuss how to meet these environmental goals without fueling populism or placing undue burdens on citizens.

Silvia Panini & Marcello Saltarelli (Volt Italia - Partito Democratico - S&D) advocate for EU investment in the green transition, ensuring that financial support is equitable. "Our goal is to provide a European incentive that does not necessarily translate into 'Superbonus' schemes," they explain, emphasizing the need for accessible financial support.

Federica Sabbati (Azione - Renew Europe) calls for a comprehensive strategy that includes financial planning and investment in necessary infrastructures. "My commitment is to revise a framework that is lacking in several key aspects, not the objectives," she states, highlighting the need for a balanced approach.

Cristina Guarda (AVS - The Greens/EFA) stresses that the directive does not impose costs on citizens but requires careful implementation by member states. "It will be our responsibility to ensure the process is as beneficial as possible for people," she asserts, emphasizing the importance of public support tools.

Luca Boccoli (AVS - The Greens/EFA) argues that the costs should be borne by major polluters rather than citizens. "The costs should be borne by the wealthy and those who pollute the most," he argues, advocating for a more equitable distribution of the financial burden associated with the green transition.

Brando Benifei (PD-S&D) highlights that the green homes directive has been subject to misinformation, primarily from the Italian right, which has used it for propaganda: "Unfortunately, it is evident that the right is increasingly a victim of its own disinformation". Benifei also emphasizes the directive's importance for improving energy efficiency in buildings, reducing utility bills, and ensuring healthy living conditions. The directive imposes no constraints or penalties on families or homeowners but requires member states to plan funding for building performance improvements. 

The paths towards sustainability
Candidates emphasize the need for careful implementation of the Green Directive to ensure that environmental goals do not disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. Their strategies include financial support from the EU, equitable burden distribution, and infrastructure investments. As the elections approach, these discussions will be crucial in shaping a sustainable and socially just future for the EU.