EC buckles Green Deal with EUR-1tr investment plan

16 Janvier, 2020, 19:43 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • EU lays out $1.1-trillion plan to support Green Deal

The references to a revision of current state aid rules, included in the proposal for a European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Fund, are in line with a position previously adopted by the CoR.

The European Green Deal Investment Plan - or Sustainable Europe Investment Plan - is a financing scheme for the Green Deal, which is a sustainable growth strategy for people and the environment launched in December 2019.

"The plan that we present today, to mobilise at least Euro 1 trillion, will show the direction and unleash a green investment wave", said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EC, adding that the objective of the plan is to turn the investment needs into investment opportunities.

Another issue already likely to divide politicians and diplomats concerns eligibility criteria for the fund, with the Commission taking a political decision to open the door to any member state to file applications on a regional basis.

By 2030, the commission wants to mobilize 1 trillion (1,000 billion) euros in green investment.

The money will go to areas producing the most Carbon dioxide industrial emissions, where job losses and the need for teaching new skills and will take into account the overall wealth of the country so that a region in need of transition in the EU's poorest Romania would get more money than a comparable region in Germany.

That is to be augmented by other EU investment programs and budgets, such as for transport and agriculture, as well as financing from the European Investment Bank and public-private ventures.

And there is also a tricky debate over nuclear energy to be navigated.

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The commission on Tuesday will unveil the details of how it can help regions dependent entirely on coal and lignite financially through a Just Transition Fund. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) - the EU's assembly of local and regional leaders - has called over the past two years for a dedicated EU funding tool to support the decarbonisation of Europe's economies and minimise the risk of job layoffs, profit losses and undermining economic and social cohesion. This will provide a combined €30-50 billion in funding.

The Commission will also pay special attention to poorer regions, where the transition may prove particularly challenging. They also call for an adequately funded just transition mechanism.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: "People are at the core of the European Green Deal, our vision to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050".

The Fund is to "benefit territories with high employment in coal, lignite, oil shale and peat production, as well as territories with carbon-intensive industries which will be either discontinued or severely impacted by the transition", the Commission proposal said.

"We know that you face a steeper path to climate neutrality, and we know that the prospect of a different future, a cleaner one, might be a welcoming prospect in general, but the road to it looks daunting today", Timmermans added.

The EP goes wrong while the Earth burns, said the GUE/NGL after the majority of MEPs voted in favor of the European Commission proposal, which 'does not comply with substantial measures that match the severity of the climate crisis'.

Talking to German news publication, Die Welt, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country "must take a longer road to neutrality of carbon dioxide emissions than many other European Union countries".

Poland's refusal to sign up to the plan could lead to it being barred from access to the transition fund, as financial aid is conditional on a member's environmental commitment.

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