Parliament: €2 trillion EU recovery funds must drive climate neutrality and nature protection

Posted on 15 May 2020

In its resolution, the European Parliament has reiterated its call for a green recovery with an overwhelming majority, emphasising that all recovery funds need to be fully compatible with the Paris Agreement, EU climate neutrality and biodiversity objectives.
Parliament also stressed that the EU recovery investments - which should amount to €2 trillion - must, as a priority, be channeled into the European Green Deal.

Importantly, the Parliament also urged the Commission to ensure that state aid is compatible with green requirements, following the Commission’s move last week to update its state aid rules without any green conditionalities attached. Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the Commission has approved €1.9 trillion worth of state aid, including to polluting industries, with no strings attached.

“With their resolution, MEPs have echoed the calls by over one million people and 100 environmental NGOs across Europe for the biggest green investment plan the world has ever seen,” said Ester Asin, Director of the WWF European Policy Office. “We’re now counting on the European Commission to follow through with its promises to present an EU recovery package which puts the objectives of the European Green Deal at its heart.”

The European Commission is expected to publish its proposal before the end of May, and WWF is calling for the following: 
  • The European Green Deal’s oath to “do no harm” principle must apply to 100% of the recovery plans and state aid; this would exclude all support to any environmentally harmful activities, such as as fossil fuels industries, nuclear energy, new airports and motorways, landfilling and incineration, and unsustainable overfishing, aquaculture and animal farming.
  • At least 50% of recovery investments should be channeled into environmentally sustainable activities. A recent study by authoritative economists found that green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns per dollar spent and lead to increased long-term cost savings, by comparison with traditional fiscal stimulus. 
  • The recently adopted suspension of climate earmarking in the 2014-2020 cohesion policy must be limited to the end of 2020 and the ‘frontloading’ of investments in the 2021-2027 cohesion policy or possible extension of the 2014-2020 cohesion policy should maintain the climate earmarking.

“MEPs, citizens and NGOs are united in their vision for Europe to emerge from this crisis as a truly sustainable and resilient economy. We must use this momentum to accelerate the ecological transition - this is in Europe’s best interest, not only for the future of our planet, but importantly for the sake of rebuilding our economy and the wellbeing of our society,” added Ester Asin.
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