EU COVID-19 recovery plan must be green and ambitious, say MEPs 

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  • Green deal must take centre stage of EU recovery efforts 
  • EU Climate Law to move ahead as planned 
  • Commission proposals on biodiversity and farm-to-fork to be delayed only a few weeks 

In a debate with Frans Timmermans, the Environment Committee says the EU must remain firm on climate change and the timetable foreseen for the Climate Law.

On Tuesday, Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety had an exchange of views with Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the Commission, on the European Green Deal and on the European Climate Law.


Last week, in its resolution on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, Parliament called on the Commission to propose a recovery and reconstruction package that “should have at its core the Green Deal and the digital transformation in order to kick start the economy.”


Mr. Timmermans agreed and added that the European Green Deal is not a luxury, but a lifeline to get out of the corona virus crisis. Pan-European answers are needed and a green recovery is not only possible but crucial, as Europe would lose out twice if we mobilise investment to restore the old economy before we make it green and sustainable.


While all MEPs agreed that solving the health crisis is the immediate priority, many MEPs underlined the need to keep the timetable on important parts of the European Green Deal. Mr. Timmermans said the timetable for the EU Climate Law is unchanged, with a revised reduction target proposal for 2030 foreseen for September, while the EU biodiversity strategy and the farm-to-fork strategy remain important priorities, but would have to be delayed “a few weeks, but not months”.


Background


On 28 November 2019, the European Parliament declared a climate emergency in Europe and globally. MEPs also asked for all relevant EU legislative and budgetary proposals to be fully aligned with the objective of limiting global warming to under 1.5 °C.


The Commission proposed the European Green Deal on 11 December 2019. This was followed up with a proposal for an EU Climate Law on 4 March 2020 to ensure a climate-neutral European Union by 2050. The Climate Law has to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers through the ordinary legislative procedure.