The EU’s Covid-19 recovery plan should prioritise climate  

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The EU’s Covid-19 recovery plan aims to lay the foundations for a sustainable and climate-neutral Europe.

The Covid-19 health crisis and its economic consequences are priorities for the EU.


The European Commission’s proposal for a €750 billion economic stimulus plan alongside a revised proposal for the EU's 2021-2027 budget follows calls by the Parliament for a massive recovery and reconstruction package with the green deal at its core to stimulate the economy and fight climate change.


The Next Generation EU plan to relaunch Europe's economies aims to slow the impact of the pandemic and make a sustainable future more viable, by allocating 30% of the EU's budget to climate action.


In a compromise reached in November 2020, on the EU's long-term budget and recovery plan, the Parliament's negotiating team and Council Presidency agreed that at least 30% of expenditure would support climate objectives. In parallel, 7.5% of annual spending would be channelled to biodiversity in 2024 and 2025, rising to 10% from 2026 onwards.


Learn more about the EU’s progress towards its climate goals.

Making climate-neutrality legally binding


On 28 November 2019, the European Parliament declared a climate emergency and called for all relevant EU legislation to be in line with the aim of keeping global warming to under 1.5°C.


The Commission outlined the Green Deal in December, followed in March 2020 by a proposal for an EU Climate Law to make the EU climate neutral by 2050, which will become legally binding once the Parliament and Council approve it. Parliament called for more ambitious emission reduction targets than those proposed by the Commission to ensure the EU can meet the goal.


In October 2020, Parliament adopted its negotiating mandate on the EU climate Law, backing the climate neutrality goal by 2050 and a 60% emission reduction target by 2030 compared to 1990 levels - more ambitious than Commission’s proposal of 55% and than the current interim target of 40%.


The Climate Law must be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers before it can come into effect. Parliament wants the EU should adopt these targets well in advance of the COP26 UN Climate change conference, which has been postponed until November 2021 due to the pandemic.


Check out our timeline of EU measures to fight climate change

Background

The Green Deal, launched in November 2019, aims to make the EU economy sustainable. It covers a wide range of areas from climate, agriculture and mobility to the protection of biodiversity and zero-pollution. Among the concrete proposals already put forward by the Commission are: