Environment

Launch of the European Alliance for a Green Recovery

At the initiative of Pascal Canfin, Chair of the Environment Committee at the European Parliament, 180 political decision-makers, business leaders, trade unions, NGOs, and think tanks have come together to form a European alliance for a Green Recovery.

In the face of the coronavirus crisis, the biggest challenge Europe has faced in peacetime, with devastating consequences and a shock to the economy tougher than the 2008 crisis, Ministers from 11 countries, 79 cross-party MEPs from 17 Member States, 37 CEOs, 28 business associations representing 10 different sectors, trade union confederation representing members from 90 national trade union organisations and 10 trade union federations, 7 NGOs and 6 think tanks, have committed to working together to create, support and implement solutions to prepare our economies for the world of tomorrow.

It comes days after EU environment ministers launched an appeal for the European Green Deal to be placed at the heart of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan.

This first pan-European call for mobilisation on post-crisis green investment packages will work to build the recovery and transformation plans which enshrine the fight against climate change and biodiversity as a key pillar of the economic strategy. Sharing the belief that the economic recovery will only come with massive investments to protect and create jobs and to support all companies, regions and sectors that have suffered from the economy coming to a sudden halt, the alliance commits to contribute to the post-crisis investment decisions needed to reboot and reboost our economy.

Covid-19 will not make climate change and nature degradation go away. The fight against this crisis will not be won without a solid economic response. The alliance commits to participate in the fight and the victory of these two battles simultaneously, and by doing so, being stronger together.

“There will be a before and after COVID-19 crisis. We are choosing to accelerate the ecological transition when the time comes to reinvest in the economy,” Pascal Canfin said. “The COVID-19 has not made the climate crisis go away. The public money that states and Europe will spend to reinvest in the economy must be consistent with the Green Deal,” he added.

“After the financial crisis in 2009, we had not yet demonstrated the profitability of housing renovation, zero-emission cars were only prototypes, wind turbines cost 3 times more than today, and solar 7 times,” the signatories affirmed in their statement. Signatories also said they are “committed to offering the necessary investment solutions, aligned with climate commitments, to revive the economy after the crisis.”

The parties are calling for a ‘worldwide alliance’ of politicians, decision-makers, business leaders, trade unions, and civil society groups to support a green transition after the pandemic.

The statement was signed by the environment ministers of Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Germany, France and Greece – while Flemish nationalists in Belgium blocked the action at national level.

According to the director of the European branch of NGO World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Ester Asin, “the broad support for this statement clearly shows that Europe’s response to the Covid-19 crisis must put us firmly on the path to a truly sustainable, climate-neutral and just economy”.

Despite the resilience of some countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, half of member states have signed a separate open letter urging the EU to ensure its commitment to the Green Deal.

In their letter, ministers urged to “withstand the temptations of short-term solutions in response to the present crisis that risk locking the EU in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come”.

According to the European Commission, “green investments will be a key driver of the recovery, not an obstacle to it”.

While European nations still need to join forces to deal with the pandemic, the future recovery will offer the region a chance to develop a new model of prosperity, believes German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, who is among the signatories of the call. “This new model must be geared to the climate goals, provide the necessary tailwind for a climate-neutral economy throughout Europe and help us to master future challenges together,” she underlined.

 

Call to EU leaders: an EU Green Recovery to restart Europe

As the fight against COVID-19 has brought the EU economy close to a standstill, together with 31 signatories from Europe’s electricity, heating, cooling, building and transport sectors, WindEurope calls for the European institutions to stand behind the European Green Deal to restart Europe. The EU institutions should fully integrate the proposed national and European economic packages with the European Green deal and help accelerate the necessary investments, notably to drive a renewable-based electrification.

The signatories of the letter represent millions of employees from Europe’s renewable energy and energy efficiency value chains across the electricity, heating, cooling, building and transport sectors as well as supportive associations.

They call on the EU Commission to:

  • Fully integrate the proposed economic stimulus packages and the European Green Deal (as proposed by the European Council). Investments in a zero-carbon infrastructure and innovative solutions are the best and most cost-effective route to economic recovery on a national and supranational level while at the same time preparing the grounds for a secure and sustainable energy system.
  • Bring forward the necessary investments for rapid recovery.
  • Use the stimulus packages to accelerate investments in energy efficiency, renewable heating and cooling, electricity, mobility, zero-carbon buildings, and industrial processes.
  • Ensure ongoing supply of clean energy and ongoing investments in energy transition can continue in the current pandemic as essential services.

“COVID-19 has forced the world into an economic pause. Now, you have the power to use the Green Deal to restart Europe and drive its economy with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy across all sectors. Such investments are both labour-rich and shovel-ready. The renewable energy, flexibility and energy efficiency solutions industries are now cost-competitive and can sustain local jobs across Europe. With a strong European manufacturing base, Europe can show world-wide industrial leadership. We trust you to take the right decisions. Our joint industries and associations are committed to making a green economic recovery a collective success,” the signatories of the letter concluded.

Cepi, the Confederation of European paper industries and its members across Europe, strongly support the initiative of Pascal Canfin, Chair of the Environment Committee at the European Parliament, to launch a European Alliance for a Green Recovery.

Cepi joins 180 political decision-makers, business leaders, trade unions, NGOs, and think tanks who have come together to create the alliance.

“This first pan-European call for mobilisation on post-crisis green investment packages will work to build the recovery and transformation plans which enshrine the fight against climate change and biodiversity as a key pillar of the economic strategy. Sharing the belief that the economic recovery will only come with massive investments to protect and create jobs and to support all companies, regions and sectors that have suffered from the economy coming to a sudden halt, the alliance commits to contribute to the post-crisis investment decisions needed to reboot and re-boost our economy. Covid-19 will not make climate change and nature degradation go away. The fight against this crisis will not be won without a solid economic response. The alliance commits to participate in the fight and the victory of these two battles simultaneously, and by doing so, being stronger together,” Cepi showed in a press release.

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