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

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 remain priorities for the EU.

To cope with the immediate impact of the pandemic, last year the European Commission proposed a €750 billion economic stimulus plan alongside a revised proposal for the EU's 2021-2027 budget following 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.

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 from 2024, rising to 10% from 2026 onwards. Parliament adopted the budget in December 2020.

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.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility will support the green transition and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and will ensure that national plans allocate at least 37% of the budget to climate and biodiversity.

As part of the EU's budget for 2021-2027, and in line with the recovery efforts, the EU will ensure funding for agriculture, Horizon Europe, the Life programme, the Environment Action programme, the Just Transition Fund, regional and cohesion funds goes to projects in line with its climate ambitions.

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%.

Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement to increase the EU’s 2030 emissions reductions target from 40% to at least 55%. Parliament adopted the EU Climate Law on 24 June 2021. The 2030 target and 2050 goal of climate neutrality will be legally binding, moving the EU closer to its post-2050 objective of negative emissions and confirming its leadership in the global fight against climate change, ahead of the COP26 in November 2021.

Check out our timeline of EU measures to fight climate change

City street with empty road and morning light in Europe, Lithuania, Vilnius. ©PavloVakhrushev/AdobeStock


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: