Amid a disrupted legislative calendar and early concerns on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the EU’s effort to transition to climate neutrality, policymakers and stakeholders have strongly backed recovery plans building on the European Green Deal momentum. For all EU institutions and many European governments, the economic recovery of the continent will need to bring the EU closer to its climate-neutrality and circularity objectives.
On 26 March, Members of the European Council published a Joint Statement recognizing that everyone should “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 statement has been followed by a joint appeal by EU environment ministers for the European Green Deal to be placed at the heart of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan. Ministers reiterate that as countries prepare their recovery, they should “not lose sight of the persisting climate and ecological crisis”. Following the call from the European Council, signatories encourage the European Commission to use the European Green Deal as a framework to prepare the continent’s recovery, and to “keep momentum by implementing its initiatives”, highlighting notably the role of certain elements of the Green Deal, such as the European Green Deal Investment Plan, “which can be pushed forward to boost green recovery and a just transition”.
As more and more countries join this initiative, a “Green Recovery Alliance” was launch on 14 April by the European Parliament at the initiative of Pascal Canfin, Chair of the Environment Committee in the EP. The informal alliance – composed of 79 MEPs from across the political spectrum, civil society groups, CEOs, business associations, European Trade Union, NGOs and think tanks – represents a joint commitment “to support and implement the establishment of Green Recovery Investment Packages acting as accelerators of the transition towards climate neutrality and healthy ecosystems.”
In addition, leaks of the updated work programme of the European Commission show that initiatives from the Green Deal are for the most part considered a priority and will therefore be implemented following the original timeline.