EU Commission announces COVID-19 recovery package

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27 May 2020

The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has today presented a new proposal for the EU’s updated seven-year €1 trillion budget and a recovery plan to help economies emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, an international non-profit with a mission to accelerate climate action, says:

“Today’s proposal is a welcome sign that progress is being made towards a green, fair and resilient recovery in Europe. We have a decade to halve global emissions so it’s crucial that this once in a lifetime investment is directed in the right areas with the right ambition. Done well, we could see the provision of jobs and security as well as a net zero future.

The additional €32.5 billion promised to the Just Transition Fund sets the tone of an EU keen to showcase a genuine understanding and engagement with the issues brought on by the combined impacts of coronavirus and climate change. While we wait for further details, we hope that the spirit of this proposal is carried through to the specifics.”

In response to specific areas focused on in the announcement, Helen Clarkson adds further comment below:

Energy

“We are pleased to see the unlocking of investment in clean technologies and value chains. Energy storage and battery development are crucial to the growth of the renewables sector. It is now essential that these plans are developed to help support direct corporate sourcing of renewables. We work with over 230 large businesses, through our RE100 initiative, that are committed to buying 100% renewable electricity and this is a key potential source of investment for Europe’s recovery. We look forward to finding out further information on these plans.”

Transport[i]

“Europe must tackle vehicle emissions by committing to a 100% EV future. Today's package points in the right direction. Increasing EU investment on electric car recharging infrastructure is a positive step forward. We anticipate that this level of investment will not only encourage the growth of the electric car market, but also provide widespread employment opportunities. But we still need more details on how it will help auto manufacturers switch their production lines to meet the large and growing demand for EVs, especially from business. This funding needs to be matched with measures to overcome other key barriers to EV charging roll-out, such as favourable planning rules.”

Built environment

“While it is good to see aims for accelerating renovation rates, we need this to be faster. To achieve the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal, renovation rates must increase to 3% per year   making building renovations more affordable, attractive and accessible to people. Investment in and deployment of energy productivity measures should play a leading part of this. According to the International Energy Agency’s efficient cooling scenario, bold policy could double the average air conditioning efficiency and reduce cooling energy demand by 45%.”

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