The impact of ECHR’s decision against Switzerland for Greece and the EU

The recent conviction of Switzerland by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for its failure to take adequate measures to combat climate change was extensively covered by the media. However, what is its actual impact? And to what extent does it concern Greece?

In her analysis for Huffington Post Greece, Aria Tzamalikou, Climate and Energy Policy Associate, argues that addressing the climate crisis has now been elevated to a binding legal commitment, dictated by the obligation to protect human life and health. Governments are therefore obligated to protect citizens by taking concrete measures to reduce emissions in line with their climate change mitigation commitments.

The ECHR judgment comes at a critical moment for climate policy both at EU and Member State level. However, at a time when the National Energy and Climate Plans across the EU are being finalized and the new EU climate target for 2040 is under negotiation, Greece has expressed its objections to the Commission’s proposal for an emissions reduction target of at least 90% by 2040.

Tzamalikou asserts that, given that we are facing a climate emergency, both Greece and the EU should pursue more ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, underscoring that mitigation and adaptation to climate change constitute inherently interconnected pillars of an effective climate policy.

Her article was published on Wednesday, 15 May, in Huffington Post Greece and is available in Greek here.