#EUGreenRecovery: EuropeOn & 30 European organizations ask to integrate economic stimulus packages with EU Green Deal

The world is facing an unprecedented crisis as this novel virus has spread to a great number of countries at an alarming rate. Rightfully, governments have taken drastic steps to reduce the contagion and safeguard the lives and health of their citizens.

As the health crisis is slowly being controlled, we are starting to contemplate the economic fallout that will inevitably come, if it hasn’t arrived yet. In the EU, Heads of State are striving to find a common solution to stimulate our economy and minimize the impact of the crisis. While discussions are still very much under way, we have the responsibility to already question the form and focus of the stimulus packages, poised to go further than the response to the 2008 crisis, that will kick start our economy.

While, in the short run, the Covid-19 pandemic takes precedence over any other concern, the climate crisis is still looming and will be much more damaging to humanity in the long run. The EU has made considerable efforts in the past years and months to recognize and address climate change. It would be a shame if this momentum faded away as a result of this pandemic. We have to keep our eyes on the ball and adjust all our actions to our agreed climate goals. This means aligning the economic recovery with climate action and with the Green Deal.

In the EU, some have called for the Green Deal to be halted in order to focus on the health crisis, seizing the latter as a political opportunity to advance a fossil or a corporate agenda. The Czech PM recently asked for the Green Deal to be canceled and car manufacturers have asked to postpone eagerly awaited CO2 standards.

We believe in the opposite. The economic recovery packages currently under discussion must focus on clean and sustainable investments. There is here what Fatih Birol, Director of the International Energy Agency, called an “historic opportunity” to actually advance our climate agenda and restart the European economy at the same time. Aligning stimulus packages with climate action would actually bolster the impetus behind the Green Deal and deepen the latter’s effects as we are no longer talking about redirecting the European economy towards a green one but we’ll be reshaping entire sectors to be greener and more sustainable in view of the environmental challenges ahead.

Further, investments in zero-carbon infrastructure and innovative solutions are the best and most cost-effective route to economic recovery on a national and supranational level while at the same time preparing the grounds for a secure and sustainable energy system.

Reassuringly, EU leaders have called for a “comprehensive recovery plan and unprecedented investment” to restart the EU’s economy. Further, the Commission has reiterated its commitment to the political guidelines set by its President (i.e. the Green Deal). But we still have to see what this recovery plan will be composed of and how ambitious it will be in investing in a green recovery. Keeping this in mind, we have decided to act in this time of uncertainties and debates to ensure that climate action remains the top concern underpinning all major decisions for the EU (and its spending).

On the 31st of March, EuropeOn has joined with 30 other European organizations, representing millions of professionals from Europe’s renewable energy and energy efficiency value chains, to call on European leaders to:

  • Fully integrate the proposed economic stimulus packages and the European Green Deal,
  • Bring forward the necessary investments for rapid recovery,
  • Use the stimulus packages to accelerate investments in energy efficiency, renewable heating and cooling, electricity, mobility, zero-carbon buildings, and industrial processes,
  • Ensure that ongoing supply of clean energy and ongoing investments in energy transition can continue in the current pandemic as essential services.

Read our full letter here.