COVID-19 recovery plan must focus on building sustainable economy in line with European Green Deal, EU leaders, CEOs & NGOs urge

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Article
26 April 2020

COVID-19 does not mean climate action is on hold

Author: Modern Diplomacy

Fundamental to a transformational and green recovery will be early action on a longer-term agenda to address climate change...

Confronted with a health crisis that has caused a global social and economic shock, the European Union and countries around the world are adopting major economic support programmes.

Beyond direct health responses, fiscal stimulus packages provide an opportunity for initiating a transformational and green recovery with the creation of green jobs.

A new report by the Paris-based think tank I4CE Institute for Climate Economics, titled Investing in climate can help France drive its economic recovery [says] “...climate action is not an obstacle to crisis recovery, but an effective response to the demand for resilience that is likely to emerge across Europe” ...

I4CE believes a recovery package must prioritize outcomes relating to:

- The environment: by maintaining the credibility of the European Green Deal, by preserving the industrial capital of low-carbon sectors, by adapting the economy to climate change.

- The economy: by contributing to the revival of businesses in the short term while simultaneously reducing exposure to future crises such as oil price shocks, or the collapse of food and industrial supply chains.

- Health: by reducing the vulnerability of society to health threats, particularly by improving air quality and reducing fuel poverty...

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Article
14 April 2020

Call for mobilisation - Green recovery: Reboot & reboost our economies for a sustainable future

Author: 180 signatories

In this tremendously difficult situation, we are also facing another crisis: a shock to our economy tougher than the 2008 crisis... We therefore welcome the declaration of European leaders... However, what worked for the 2008 financial crisis may not be sufficient to overcome this one. The economic recovery will only come with massive investments to protect and create jobs and to support all the companies, regions and sectors that have suffered from the economy coming to a sudden halt. 

After the crisis, the time will come to rebuild. This moment of recovery will be an opportunity to rethink our society and develop a new model of prosperity... 

Political will is here... Projects such as the European Green Deal ... have a huge potential to build back our economy and contribute to creating a new prosperity model. We therefore consider that we need to prepare Europe for the future, and design recovery plans, both at the local, national and at the EU level, enshrining the fight against climate change as the core of the economic strategy...

We call on a global alliance of cross-party political decision-makers, business and financial leaders, trade unions, NGOs, think tankers, stakeholders, to support and implement the establishment of Green Recovery Investment Packages acting as accelerators of the transition towards climate neutrality and healthy ecosystems. We therefore commit to working together, sharing knowledge, exchanging expertise and creating synergies to deliver the investment decisions we need... 

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Article
14 April 2020

EU: 180 CEOs, ministers & NGOs launch appeal for green recovery after COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Frédéric Simon | EURACTIV.com

"‘Green recovery alliance’ launched in European Parliament", 14 April 2020

The “green recovery alliance” was launched on ... 14 April at the initiative of Pascal Canfin, a French centrist MEP who chairs the European Parliament’s committee on environment and public health.

In addition to the 79 MEPs from across the political spectrum, the alliance also brings together civil society groups, including 37 CEOs, 28 business associations, the European trade union confederation, 7 NGOs and 6 think tanks.

It comes days after EU environment ministers launched an appeal for the European Green Deal to be placed at the heart of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan.

Big names from the private sector who signed the appeal include the CEO’s of Ikea, H&M, Unilever, Danone, E.ON and others...

“The broad support for this statement clearly shows that Europe’s response to the COVID-19 crisis must put us firmly on the path to a truly sustainable, climate-neutral and just economy – for the sake of the environment, but also for building greater resilience of our societies and our economy,” said Ester Asin, director of the WWF’s European Policy Office, who is among the signatories.

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Article
14 April 2020

European CEOs, Ministers Start Campaign for Green Recovery

Author: Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg

A new alliance of ministers, chief executive officers and researchers urged the European Union to build its recovery package after the coronavirus crisis around the Green Deal strategy of sustainable growth.

The group, an initiative led by Pascal Canfin, a French member of the European Parliament, is pushing to mobilize investment in projects that would put the EU on track to meet its goal of becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by the middle of the century. The bloc’s leaders, who last month pledged a green focus in an exit strategy from the coronavirus crisis, are set to discuss next week measures worth more than half a trillion euros...

Its Green Deal, which was launched shortly before the virus outbreak, ... put[s] Europe’s ambitions on climate change ahead of most other major polluters...

The European Commission ... expects the spreading contagion to cause a deep recession this year. The recovery plan should enshrine the fight against climate change as “the core of the economic strategy,” said the members of the alliance..

“If we relaunch the economy in the wrong direction, we will hit the climate crisis wall,” said Canfin... “We need to unite all the energies for a green recovery.”

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Article
11 April 2020

France, Germany join group of EU countries calling for green recovery

Author: Frédéric Simon, EURACTIV.com

Paris and Berlin have added their names to a growing list of EU capitals asking for the European Green Deal to be placed at the heart of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan...

The op-ed was initially put online on Thursday (9 April) and signed by the environment ministers of 10 EU countries: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden...

Greece is also expected to join soon...

At a summit on 26 March, EU leaders asked the EU executive to start preparing “a comprehensive recovery plan” that also integrates the green and digital transitions. EU climate chief Frans Timmermans has since pledged to “work towards a green recovery”, citing clean energy sources as having a crucial role to play in the transition...

[T]he Commission launched a public consultation on its “Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy”...

Green finance will be a “key focus” of the post-virus recovery phase, said Vladis Dombrovskis, the EU executive vice president in charge of the economy...

EU heads of states and governments will now convene by video conference on 23 April to discuss the next stage of the recovery phase.

Charles Michel, the President of the European Council who chairs EU summit meetings, said he was working on a “roadmap and action plan” to bring the EU back to growth “based on a green and digital strategy”.

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Article
9 April 2020

13 EU environment ministers urge Commission to use European Green Deal as framework for EU COVID-19 recovery plan

Author: Climate Home News

"European Green Deal must be central to a resilient recovery after Covid-19", 9 April 2020

In just a few weeks, the Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the world and caused tremendous human tragedy and a historical economic setback of which we still do not know the full impact...

The focus is presently on fighting the pandemic and its immediate consequences.

We should, however,  begin to prepare ourselves to rebuild our economy and to introduce the necessary recovery plans to bring renewed, sustainable progress and prosperity back to Europe and its citizens.

While doing so, we must not lose sight of the persisting climate and ecological crisis. Building momentum to fight this battle has to stay high on the political agenda...

We therefore strongly welcome that the Heads of States and Governments on 26 March invited the Commission to start working on a comprehensive EU recovery plan integrating the green transition and digital transformation.

We call on the Commission to use the European Green Deal as a framework for this exercise and thereby to keep momentum by implementing its initiatives...

The Green Deal provides us with a roadmap to make the right choices in responding to the economic crisis while transforming Europe into a sustainable and climate neutral economy.

We should withstand the temptations of short-term solutions...

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Article
9 April 2020

EU says green finance will be 'key focus' of post-virus recovery phase

Author: Frédéric Simon, EURACTIV.com

As European countries fight the coronavirus pandemic, they “must not lose sight” of the EU’s climate neutrality objective, the European Commission reminded on Wednesday (8 April).

The EU executive on Wednesday launched a public consultation on its “Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy”, part of a €1 trillion package to make the European economy greener by 2030...

“Creating a more sustainable and resilient economy will be a key focus of the recovery phase and the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy will be essential to mobilising much-needed capital,” he [Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU Commission’s executive vice-president in charge of the economy] said in a statement.

The renewed strategy will aim to boost green investments by fully integrating “climate and environmental risks into the financial system,” the Commission indicated, saying it aims to adopt the updated green finance plan in the second half of 2020...

The strategy will build on previous initiatives such as the Commission’s 2018 Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and the reports of the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG), the EU executive said.

E3G, a climate think tank, said the importance of green finance could not be overstated, adding it will help shape Europe’s economic recovery in the wake of the current health and economic crises...

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Article
27 March 2020

EU leaders back ‘green transition’ in pandemic recovery plan

Author: Frédéric Simon, EURACTIV.com

27 March 2020

...EU heads of states concluded an EU summit on Thursday evening (26 March) with a call to prepare the post-crisis period.

EU institutions should “start to prepare the measures necessary to get back to a normal functioning of our societies and economies,” said the final communiqué... Such measures should promote “sustainable growth... integrating inter alia the green transition and the digital transformation, and drawing all lessons from the crisis.”

“We invite the president of the Commission and the president of the European Council... to start work on a roadmap accompanied by an action plan to this end,” the statement says.

In an open letter sent to the presidents of EU institutions, WWF and other environmental groups called for the recovery plan to be future-proof and drawn up in a transparent way.

“[T[the stimulus packages must support ‘future-proofing’ companies through a rapid shift of their business models towards sustainability,” the letter adds...

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Article
26 March 2020

EU Council commits to green transition & sustainable value chains in statement on COVID-19 response

Author: Members of the European Council

"Joint statement of the Members of the European Council", 26 March 2020

...The COVID-19 pandemic affects people and societies all over the world and will have a long term impact on global economy and trade. The EU commits to international cooperation and multilateral solutions in tackling the pandemic and its consequences. It will do its utmost to assist countries and communities to fight the COVID-19 crisis. It will also do its utmost to strengthen the sustainability of global integrated value and supply chains to adapt them as necessary and to alleviate the negative socio-economic impact of the crisis...

The urgency is presently on fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and its immediate consequences. We should however start to prepare the measures necessary to get back to a normal functioning of our societies and economies and to sustainable growth, integrating inter alia the green transition and the digital transformation, and drawing all lessons from the crisis. This will require a coordinated exit strategy, a comprehensive recovery plan and unprecedented investment. We invite the President of the Commission and the President of the European Council... to start work on a Roadmap accompanied by an Action Plan to this end...

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Article
26 March 2020

NGO letter to EU on COVID-19: Economic stimulus must support sustainability objectives in line with EU Green Deal

Author: WWF & 7 others

We are calling on the European Union and its governments to demonstrate leadership and foresight by continuing and reinforcing on the trajectory towards a resilient and sustainable economy, in line with the European Green Deal...

Concretely, we believe that the EU and its Member States must:

1. Make distribution of stimulus funds and bail-outs conditional on consistency with the European Green Deal...

2. Reform fiscal rules to ensure continued public investment in decarbonising the economy...

3. Launch large scale sustainable initiatives in line with public interest...

4. Accelerate EU sustainable finance policies to shift the trillions from brown to green...

5. Limit future health crises by acting globally against climate change and biodiversity loss...

During this time of worry and uncertainty for many, we recognise the efforts undertaken by our leaders to overcome the immediate health crisis, and provide support to the most vulnerable. Our organisations stand ready to work with decision makers at EU and national levels to ensure that despite these challenges, we continue down Europe’s chosen path of a just and fair transition towards a genuinely sustainable economy, in which no-one is left behind.

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