Factor

MEPs raise the pressure on EU recovery green spending rules

16 July 2020 | Mitigation

 

A cross-party group of lawmakers in the European Parliament have penned a joint letter calling for the EU’s proposed €750 billion recovery fund to be closely aligned with the bloc’s climate goals.

The move comes as EU leaders prepare to meet on Friday (17 July) in a bid to broker an agreement on the EU’s proposed €1 trillion budget for the next seven years (2021-2027), as well as the bloc’s €750 billion recovery fund from the coronavirus crisis.

Both the budget and recovery fund will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote of approval once leaders agree to it, giving MEPs an effective right of veto over the proposals.

“We all agree that the EU recovery plan should be enshrined in a very clear narrative: it should be the first recovery plan aligned with the Paris Agreement,” says the letter, sent to EU summit chair Charles Michel on Wednesday (14 July).

In particular, access to the EU recovery fund “shall be linked to member states’ commitment to a national objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and to contribute to achieving the Union’s new 2030 climate targets, which will be updated by the end of the year,” the missive states.

In addition, MEPs insist that all recovery money disbursed to EU member states “should respect the ‘do no significant harm’” principle enshrined in the EU’s green finance taxonomy, the bloc’s rulebook on sustainable finance.

EU leaders will try to broker an agreement on both the EU budget and recovery fund when they meet on Friday and Saturday. And although attaching green “conditions” to EU spending is not the hottest issue on the agenda, there is no guarantee the leaders will agree to it either.

At an EU summit last December, Poland was the only country to abstain from an EU-wide goal of reducing emissions to net-zero by 2050, saying it needed more time to evaluate the implications for its economy.

Ahead of the summit, Warsaw raised the pressure, warning it would reject proposals linking the disbursement of EU money to climate goals. “A just transition cannot be based on conditionality but inclusiveness,” a Polish diplomat said.

If EU leaders fail to attach green strings to the proposed recovery fund, named ‘Next Generation EU’, that will likely set them on a collision course with Parliament, which appears determined to enforce green rules.

 

Source: Euractiv