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Eastbound and Green in Europe

Despite the unprecedented disruptions brought on by COVID-19, both the European Union and China remain committed to pursuing decarbonization and green investment. That means they have common ground from which to lead the rest of the world out of this crisis, and toward a more sustainable and resilient future.

PARIS – The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in a remarkably short period of time. We are in the midst of an unprecedented health, economic, social, and environmental crisis, and how we respond will shape the global economy for the foreseeable future. More to the point, the speed, scale, and content of today’s recovery plans will determine whether we achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and whether we meet the objectives of the Paris climate agreement.

The recovery will be a critical moment for global cooperation. The pandemic has underscored the fact that countries acting alone cannot tackle our most urgent challenges. But it has also put substantial stress on our systems of international cooperation. With the United States focusing only on itself, it is crucial that Europe and China work together to find pragmatic solutions.

Part of that process should involve a shift from siloed diplomatic discussions toward broader conversations that include all participants in the global commons. Through a bilateral summit (currently scheduled for December 2020) and their respective recovery plans, the European Union and China have a unique opportunity to lead the world in a more sustainable direction. The foundations have already been laid, in the form of the European Green Deal and China’s “Ecological Civilization” agenda. Each of these plans has far-reaching implications for the rest of the world.

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