Frans Timmermans with Gordon Brown: The Way Forward for Europe

2020 has been, without doubt, a banner year for challenging our understanding of what constitutes a global problem and how equipped we are to address that task collectively. At the start of this year — what feels like an age ago — after generations of scientific findings and urgent calls to action, a unified, collective response to the global climate crisis remained elusive. But there were some green shoots of hope.

Late in 2019, the European Commission announced the formation of the European Green Deal, a body that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared was Europe’s ‘Man on the Moon moment’: a plan to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. Dutch politician and diplomat Frans Timmermans was named Executive Vice-President for the project and planning, and began negotiating with vigour. Then the pandemic hit.

In this special conversation for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Timmermans sits down with former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss the politics of environmental change. How much action is needed for meaningful change? What are the roadblocks to genuinely ending Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels? And what does a green recovery from COVID-19 look like?

This is a live event, with an author Q&A.

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