Industry now trumps nature in Europe

By Zia Weise | 06/05/2024 01:00 PM EDT

With the EU expected to swing right in this week’s election, nature-protection laws are drying up.

European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and Prime Minister Alexander De Croo pictured during the European Industry Summit "A Business Case for Europe," at the BASF plant in Antwerp.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo are greeted by workers at a BASF plant in Antwerp, Belgium, on Feb. 20. Dirk Waem/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images

BRUSSELS — The European Union has a new climate dogma: industry before nature.

Nearly five years ago, Ursula von der Leyen unveiled her landmark Green Deal with a vow to make Europe’s businesses climate-friendly. These days, she’s focused on making the bloc’s climate efforts business-friendly.

On the campaign trail, von der Leyen — who is seeking reelection as the European Commission president, overseeing all EU legislation — is now filtering all her climate rhetoric through a sharply focused economic lens.


“We know that there is no competitive economy without climate protection. But there is also no climate protection without competitive companies,” she has said in speech after speech.