EU summit deal is good news for Europe’s recovery, but clearer rules are needed on climate conditionality
On Tuesday 21 July, after one of the longest summits in the European Union’s history EU Heads of State and Government stroke a deal on the recovery plan and multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes this historic result at a time when it is crucial to ensure Europe’s swift socio-economic recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The recovery plan is a unique opportunity to address – in the long term – the devastating impact of climate change on our societies. The overall climate earmarking for both the Next Generation EU and the MFF was increased from 25% to 30%. Expenditures will have to be aligned with the objective to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and contribute to achieving the Union’s new 2030 climate targets, which will be updated by the end of the year. Moreover, the Council agreed that, as a general principle, all EU expenditure should be consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives and the “do no harm” principle.
While welcoming the new instruments and targets, EU-ASE regrets the heavy cuts to the Just Transition Fund and the InvestEU programmes, both very relevant to ensure a smooth transition to a climate neutral society.
Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance to Save Energy said: “The increase in the climate earmarking, as well as the references to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals are good signs. Moving forward, we need to further increase the percentage of climate mainstreaming and need clearer rules, including a stringent definition of harmful activities, to ensure that no EU-backed spending is directed to investments at odds with the climate neutrality goal.”
“We hope that the European Parliament will call for higher climate ambition. EU-ASE looks forward to working with the Parliament and Member States to make sure that the overall green commitment is reflected in the relevant sectoral legislations and in the national Recovery and Resilience plans.”
The businesses represented in EU-ASE stress that energy efficiency must be prioritised across key sectors (buildings, industry, transport, ICT) and the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle should guide energy investments in view of the proven economic and social benefits of efficiency measures both in the short and longer term.
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) was established in December 2010 by some of Europe’s leading multinational companies. The Alliance creates a platform from which companies can ensure that the voice of energy efficiency is heard from across the business and political community. EU-ASE members have operations across the 27 Member States of the European Union, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.
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