EU environment ministers are meeting today and tomorrow via video conference to discuss how to connect the billions of euros being flooded into the European economy to fight the Covid-19 recession to the bloc’s climate goals.
The discussion is coming at a crucial time, just days before European prime ministers will hold their first in-person meeting in five months on Friday in Brussels, aiming to agree on the €750 billion rescue package that will be in effect from 2021 to 2027.
Last week European Council President Charles Michel tabled a new ‘negotiating box’ that would see 30% of the funding ring-fenced for climate spending, higher than the 25% proposed by the European Commission. The new proposal would also integrate the EU’s ‘do no harm’ principle to all of the spending, meaning that none of it should be spent on projects deemed to do environmental damage.
Climate campaigners are calling on the EU leaders to to use this unprecedented spending to move transform Europe’s economy to make it more green. Over 1.3 million people and 150 organizations have signed a petition calling for this. They also want the EU’s target for emissions reductions by 2030 to be raised to 65%. It is currently set at 40%.
“The EU is ready to invest massively in our economic recovery,” says Imke Lübbeke, head of climate and energy at WWF’s Europe office. “By doing so alongside higher climate targets and a climate law grounded in science, the EU can create good jobs, tackle the climate emergency, and build a safer, healthier society.”
“President Michel’s recent proposal on the EU budget is a good step but still too small: the ‘do no harm’ principle must be operationalised by using the taxonomy criteria and applied to the whole package, and the climate spending target increased further.”
WWF is calling for the green ring-fencing to be raised to 50%, for the package to be fully consistent with EU environmental targets.