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Stronger progress in EU needed to meet 55% reduction target for 2030 – mixed results in CEE, Eurostat says

On Tuesday (24 May), the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat published a report on the bloc’s progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report “Sustainable Development in the European Union — monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context, 2023 edition” found that more progress, among two other areas, is needed in climate action.

The EU has set “very ambitious and unparalleled” climate targets for 2030 and, as compared to past trends, they will require more efforts, the report said. As noted by Eurostat, the EU has already put in place the policy measures to deliver these additional efforts, including the “Fit for 55” legislative package and the Effort Sharing Regulation that set binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for the bloc’s members

In the area of energy, the EU has also set more ambitious targets for 2030. “This implies that stronger progress is expected to be visible in the coming years in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energies in the EU, as well,” the report read.

“The European economy is showing remarkable resilience after the crisis experienced over the last 3 years. However, we need to continue addressing structural challenges while maintaining our commitment to the green and digital transition. The Sustainable Development Goals remain our compass in these collective efforts. This report provides us with reliable data to track progress towards the achievement of our medium-term goals,” said Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy.

Mixed results in Central and Eastern Europe

In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), most countries broadly share the overall EU average when it comes to SDGs in climate change, according to the report’s aggregated country overview of each SDG. Among them are Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland which have all made progress in climate action in recent years, either at the same level as the EU or slightly worse. Important to note, Greece and Slovenia have made the most amount of progress in this group with a score of 5 (the highest possible score).

An interesting outlier here is Czechia, which has made some progress in the climate SDG, but it has been significantly worse than the EU (nearly 70 per cent worse than the EU average).

At the same time, a significant number of countries in CEE are moving away from the climate target. Bulgaria (progress score: -0.7) and Latvia (-2.5) have both moved away from the SDG at the same or very similar level as the EU average. Lithuania is also among the countries moving away from climate action goals, but its status is slightly better than in the whole European bloc (nearly 5 per cent better than the EU average).

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