EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today set out a major €750 billion coronavirus recovery package, ‘Next Generation EU’, promising a green, digital, resilient Europe – a move Friends of the Earth Europe welcomed, but cautioned falls short of building back a better Europe.
Friends of the Earth Europe criticised a lack of any conditionality to prevent Member States from directing public funds and state aid to fossil fuel companies and polluting industries without commitments to lower their climate and environmental impacts.
Jagoda Munic, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"People are reeling from the shock of this pandemic, so it’s right for the EU to act in solidarity injecting billions to resuscitate our economies while emphasising a ‘green recovery’.
"But it’s ludicrous not to put any conditions on these funds. Our common future will be shaped by how this money is spent, and allowing strings-free handouts to polluting industries, or corporations who dodge tax or have poor labour practices, will not rebuild the sustainable, fair, caring world we need."
Jagoda Munic continued:
“Unfortunately the Commission’s ‘green’ recovery package today has a distinctly brown tinge. Too many of the measures fall short of the goals of the European Green Deal, and put techno-fixes and corporate interests first. Boosting hydrogen is no vaccine against the climate emergency, and risks continuing our dependence on polluting fossil fuels. The promotion of digital farming would further tighten the stranglehold of corporations on our food.
“We must leave more to the next generation than precarious jobs and environmental collapse.”
[2/5] Will the @EU_Commission choose to stick with its pre-pandemic plans for #EUGreenDeal – or use the recovery billions to fund the transformation we really need?#EUrecovery #greenrecovery pic.twitter.com/HNm5RU3fIR— Friends of the Earth (@foeeurope) May 27, 2020