Blog post

Clash of Perspectives: Analyzing the Climate Debates in CEE+ Region before the 2024 Election Campaigns

By Vendula Kazlauskas

And with Radka Vicenova, Veronika Oravcova, Szymon Kardas, Maria Simeonova, Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf, Jorge Galindo, Phuc-Vinh Nguyen

The European Parliament elections in 2024 will be significantly influenced by the current green transition measures and the implementation of the European Green Deal in general. However, the demand of the voters will differ from the previous elections, when the public demanded swift proclimate actions.

Although citizens already acknowledge the dangers connected with climate change (including even the citizens in traditionally euroskeptic V4 countries), support decreases when debating specific measures with a direct economic impact on individuals and companies. In a growing number of the EU countries, economic costs overshadow environmental benefits in public debates and climate policies are seen as expensive and socially unfair, especially in rural areas.

To drive a just transition, beneficial to all segments of society, the emphasis should be on ensuring a socially fair transition, connected positive narratives, and their effective communication. For public acceptance of the necessary measures and for the just and inclusive setting of the just transition measures, the national governments need to engage in clear and coordinated communication with the general public, as well as with businesses. A proactive approach and fostering understanding are crucial.

Energy independence and diversification of energy sources are paramount in shaping the positions across the analyzed EU countries and national security concerns have the potential to drive a swift shift towards renewable energy sources.

Common concerns include the impact of the EGD on the industrial competitiveness of the EU Member States, especially in sensitive industries, such as automotive. Industry, which is often more ambitious than the national governments, can also play a key role in driving the green transition across the analyzed countries.

The key aspect of public acceptance of the EGD measures and for the European green ambitions in general will be a focus on just transition measures, and the adequate setting of programs for the most vulnerable citizens, businesses and regions.