EU leaders will soon sketch out Europe's long-term response to the covid-19 crisis. For now, we know that Europeans want to paint it green.
1.2 million people have joined an appeal for the EU to launch "the biggest green investment plan the world has ever seen" today.
The fund needs to help people pull through the covid-19 crisis, create new jobs and make our economy more resilient to future shocks resulting from the ongoing climate and environmental crises, the NGOs behind the petition said.
The Green10 coalition*, composed of ten of the largest environmental organisations in Europe, urged lawmakers to invest hundreds of billions in renovating homes, scaling up renewable energy, restoring natural habitats, boosting public transport and zero-emission mobility, and greening agriculture.
The NGOs also warned against EU and national governments bailing out polluting industries involved in sectors such as gas, oil and coal, chemicals, cars and airlines. Any stimulus investments must be conditional on companies' alignment with social, environmental and climate objectives.
The news comes as MEPs in the European Parliament prepare to decide what they want in the EU's Recovery Fund and upcoming seven-year budget on Friday.
Despite accounting for less than 1% of the bloc's GDP, the EU budget is the most important financial tool in the hands of EU institutions. Because of its political weight, it has the potential to drive further investments from municipalities, governments and the private sector.
NGOs want to increase climate and environmental funding in these areas from 20% to at least 50% of the overall budget. They also want to make the totality of funds conditional on the achievement of green targets and standards.
The new budget must reflect the need to save resources, cut pollution and fight climate breakdown. Only by restoring a healthy balance between people and nature can we prevent future outbreaks and their impact on societyPatrick ten Brink, EU policy director with the European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
The European Commission is expected to publish its proposals for the next EU budget and recovery package next week. The proposals will then be discussed by the Parliament and the EU's 27 governments, with a view to reaching an agreement in the summer.
*Alongside the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Green10 members include BirdLife Europe, CAN Europe, CEE Bankwatch Network, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace European Unit, Health and Environment Alliance, Naturefriends International, Transport & Environment and WWF European Policy Office.
Zdroj: European Environmental Bureau