Brussels – As the first face-to-face EU summit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe ended, Europe’s leaders have failed to exclude access to EU recovery funds for polluting and exploitative industries, said Greenpeace.
Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang said: “European governments said they would deliver a green recovery plan from the covid-19 pandemic, but they have cut funding for health, research and climate, and failed to guarantee that public money won’t go to polluting industries. This means any good investment could be cancelled out by support for outdated industries. After locking heads at one of the longest summits in EU history, our governments have come up short. The European Parliament now has to weigh in to improve the prospects of a green and fair recovery.”
The agreement on the recovery plan says 30% of all spending should go to measures meant to tackle climate change. However, green groups warned that without stipulating an exclusion list to ensure that polluting industries do not receive funds, public money will continue to support polluting industries.
The agreement also cuts the European Commission’s proposed funding for health, research, and the Just Transition Fund. EU leaders were only able to agree that access to half of the 17.5bn Just Transition Fund will be dependent on supporting the EU’s climate neutrality target by 2050.
The deal states that the funds should be guided by the European Green Deal, a revised EU 2030 emissions reduction target, and the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality target. However, the proposed 2030 climate target to reduce emissions by 50-55% is not in line with the Paris climate agreement and efforts to limit global heating to 1.5°C.
The European Parliament will have to approve the overall size of the package and national governments and the European Parliament will hammer out the details of the EU recovery fund in the coming months. Prominent MEPs from five political groups – including the conservative European People’s Party, Socialists and Democrats, Greens, and the left grouping – have argued that the recovery package should be linked to the EUs climate goals, a so-called ‘do-no-harm principle’, and EU’s green finance taxonomy, the bloc’s rulebook on sustainable finance.
A recent study on recovery spending for the energy sector by the world’s richest governments found that Germany, France and Italy have already spent nearly €40 billion on fossil fuels, compared to only €29 billion on clean energy.
Greenpeace has set out three fundamental tests to measure whether the EU recovery plan could lead to a green and just recovery, or whether it would entrench the current fossil-fuel and waste-intensive economic system, hidden under a coat of greenwash.
Sebastian Mang – Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser: +32 (0)479 601289, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, email@example.com
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