EU Council: Squabbling over solidarity

19 June 2020

As EU heads of government today deliberate the EU’s proposed €750 billion coronavirus recovery package by teleconference, Friends of the Earth Europe warns they risk a rebound to business-as-usual, which would put global warming targets beyond reach.

EU heads of government diverge over the source and type of spending, and are not expected to reach agreement on the package today. But already EU governments are directing trillions in economic stimulus measures to polluting industries such as airlines, cars and fossil fuel facilities, with few conditions attached.

Only by conditioning the recovery funds to be 100% fossil free and to invest in the just transition and green solutions can the EU help rebuild the sustainable, fair, caring world we need, warns Friends of the Earth.

Jagoda Munic, director, Friends of the Earth Europe said:

“EU help to resuscitate our Covid-ravaged economies and put Europe on a sustainable and just path is urgently needed. Right now, EU leaders are choosing squabbling over solidarity. Failure to act decisively and with vision could return Europe to disaster, and put global warming targets beyond reach.

“People are waiting for governments to build back a better Europe. That means getting behind the recovery plan; conditioning bailouts to exclude all fossil fuels and corporations who dodge tax or have poor labour practices; and fostering decent jobs and reducing environmental impacts. This is our best ever opportunity to invest billions in building up the green and equitable solutions we need like community renewable energy, agroecology, and decent energy-efficient homes for all.”

Friends of the Earth previously welcomed the European Commission’s recovery plan, but criticised that it falls short of the goals of the European Green Deal.

We demand a just, green and resilient post-Covid recovery, that: 

  • Increases standards, protections and the ambition of policies for the environment, climate, nature, workers and human rights;
  • Places an immediate moratorium on all arbitration claims by private corporations against governments using international investment treaties;
  • Puts an end to tax avoidance, evasion and secrecy;
  • No bail-out of fossil fuel industries, or corporations using offshore tax havens or with track records of workers’ rights abuse;
  • Conditions bail-outs of companies on the prioritisation of jobs and decent salaries and on lowering climate and environmental impacts;
  • Limits profit extraction, in the form of dividends or buying-back of shares;
  • Ensures transformative policies within an improved European Green Deal are agreed and implemented in a timely way;
  • Supports people impacted most or that need to transition out of fossil fuels.