What the European Council on recovery tells us about European climate politics
(EurActiv, 23 Jul 2020) After five long days and nights of negotiations, European leaders struck a deal on the seven-year EU budget and “Next Generation EU” recovery plans on Tuesday. What did this European Council tell us about the politics of green and resilient recovery in the EU? Jennifer Tollman, Johanna Lehne and Rebekka Popp explain
Jennifer Tollmann and Johanna Lehne are policy advisers and Rebekka Popp is a researcher at E3G, an independent think tank operating to accelerate the transition to a climate-safe world.
Two steps forward on climate
It is easy to forget just how central climate has become to European politics since the last European budget negotiations in 2013. Post-Paris Agreement and in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, European citizens are placing a clear priority on climate action. Calls for a green recovery from within the EU and without, meant that this time around, EU leaders were under pressure to agree a baseline commitment to climate action:
- a 30% target for climate-spending;
- to adhere to the Green Deal’s “do no harm” principle across the rest of the funds; and
- to link these funds to achieving a “new” 2030 climate target – to be agreed by the end of the year.
While questions remain over exactly how climate earmarking and “do no harm” provisions will be put into practice and monitored, this represents a substantial investment in a better recovery.