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Put ‘Green Deal’ at heart of EU recovery, MEPs urge

The European Union’s ‘recovery package’ must be green in order to be “future proof”, a cross party group of MEPs has said.

Today (16 June),the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (@EP_Environment) had an exchange of views with the European Commission (@EU_Commission) on the European recovery package and the link with the European Green Deal and the fight against Covid-19.

The Commission representatives underlined the need for a rapid recovery to avoid long-term damage to the economy and said “Europe after the recovery should be greener and not go back to pre-crisis status quo”.

According to the group of MEPs, experience from the previous financial crisis shows that productivity reforms must accompany investments to work properly and the Commission is providing support to member states to design and implement such reforms.

MEPs said investments made through the Recovery Plan should respect the “Do no harm” principle meaning they should not support or be directed towards activities that would work against the achievement of Union’s objectives related to climate, environment and biodiversity. In this context, some MEPs mentioned the lack of clarity in the Commission’s proposals as to how they will ensure that the Green Deal is prioritised in member states’ recovery plans.

They also expressed the need to both use the criteria laid down in the new legislation on sustainable investments, the so-called taxonomy regulation, and quickly complement that piece of legislation with a ‘brown taxonomy’ identifying certain harmful types of economic activities.

Several MEPs also raised the need to finance the recovery package partly by raising own-resources at EU-level such as through the current EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and enlarging its scope to include buildings and transport and through the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism.

The Committee earlier in the morning also had a debate with the Commission on the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) that Member States are required to prepare to implement the EU 2030 energy and climate targets. MEPs highlighted that in their implementation, NECPs should reflect the post-COVID-19 recovery plan for Europe to support the transformation towards a climate-neutral future.

Background
On 15 May 2020, Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU Recovery Plan and the EU long-term budget. Parliament called “for investments to be prioritised into the Green Deal” and “for the creation of a new standalone European health programme”. On 27 May 2020 the Commission presented their proposal for a Recovery Plan which now has to be approved by member states and the European Parliament. It includes a proposals for a stand-alone EU4Health programme to provide dedicated support for health.


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