Europe must quicken green efforts after election, EU climate chief says

By Zia Weise | 03/14/2024 06:51 AM EDT

The bloc should “focus just as much and probably more” on climate in the coming years, Wopke Hoekstra told POLITICO.

Wopke Hoekstra, the EU climate commissioner, speaks to journalists at the Delegation of the EU to China compound in Beijing on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.

Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra wants the EU to become more resilient to climate change. Ng Han Guan/AP

STRASBOURG — The next crop of European Union officials must accelerate the push to slash planet-warming pollution and prepare for an extreme weather surge.

That’s EU climate chief Wopke Hoekstra’s message after scientists’ latest warning that the Continent is unprepared for a changing world. It comes at a politically perilous moment, with rising anti-green sentiment pushing Brussels to relax some environmental rules and anxious politicians scaling back climate ambitions ahead of June’s EU elections.

Yet in the coming years, Hoekstra told POLITICO in an interview Tuesday, Brussels must “focus just as much and probably more” on climate action.


The bloc must become more resilient to climate change, he stressed, a massive undertaking that includes building dikes to protect coasts from sea-level rise and ensuring hospitals can cope with an uptick in tropical diseases.