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MEPs fail to endorse fossil-free recovery but agree damage control

10 November 2020
by WWF -- last modified 10 November 2020

Yesterday, Economic Affairs and Budgets Committee MEPs voted on the biggest EU recovery fund. In a blow for the climate, they did not explicitly exclude fossil fuels from the EUR 672.5 billion pot, despite a cross-party statement of support from over 115 MEPs for doing so.


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The committees also voted to skip the full Parliament vote. The plenary stage would have allowed progressive MEPs to table greener measures like fossil fuel exclusion.

Instead,  the recovery fund discussions will go straight to the trilogue stage, with none of the three EU institutions supporting an exclusion list of harmful activities.

However the committees agreed on a damage control process, banning the recovery fund from supporting 'significantly harmful' projects. What exactly this means will be defined by using the EU taxonomy - the EU's tool for identifying sustainable investments - and must be operationalised via Commission guidelines.

The Committees did support a 40% climate and biodiversity spending target, which is more ambitious than the Council's position of a 37% climate target, though still far from enough to fix the biodiversity crisis. It also rightly required the EU Taxonomy to be used in order to track climate and biodiversity spending.

"It is alarming that the Parliament could not agree to clearly exclude fossil fuels. For the trilogue, it will have to stand very firm on its damage control requirement based on the EU taxonomy. No support to harmful projects should be tolerated in the EU recovery or this will be a 'greenwash' recovery not a 'green recovery'", commented S├ębastien Godinot, WWF European Policy Office economist.

WWF is calling for several key elements in the recovery fund:

  • A separate 'exclusion list' of polluting activities, in particular fossil fuels, to explicitly say which sectors must not receive support.
  • MEPs should set two separate spending targets for climate and nature so it is clear how much money will be available for  climate action and for nature protection and restoration. In WWF's view this should be 37% of the budget and recovery funds for climate and 10% for nature in each national Recovery and Resilience Plan.
  • The 'do no harm' green oath of the European Green Deal - as proposed by President Michel - to be tracked and implemented in a concrete way in the EU budget and recovery package, using EU taxonomy criteria. This should be part of the Parliament's position.

The European Policy Office helps shape EU policies that impact on the European and global environment.

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