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European Parliament Rejects EU Recovery Plan Over Cuts To Climate Funding


The European Parliament rejected on Thursday (23 July) the hard-won decisions of the EU Council. MEPs criticised, among other things, cuts to climate programmes and voiced fear that billions of euros could fall into the wrong hands. 

The Parliament rejected the Council’s decision on the multiannual budget (MFF) and recovery plan by a clear majority. MEPs called the compromise too unambitious and criticised the cuts in climate-related funding.

Some Green MEPs expressed their disappointment in advance of the debate.

The national leaders’ agreement was a “turning away from the Green Deal,” wrote German Michael Bloss. “The European Union must cut back its support programme for CO2-free steel. The programme for investments in the future has been cut by €30.3 billion to now €5.6 billion. The fund to support coal regions purrs together from €40 billion to €10 billion,” he complained.

In a resolution drafted by the group leaders on Wednesday (22 July), the Parliament said, among other things, “we believe that the proposed cuts in programmes for the transition of coal-dependent regions run counter to the Green Deal agenda.”

This refers in particular to the Just Transition Fund (JTF), which the Commission had wanted to increase from €7.5 billion to €40 billion as part of the EU’s coronavirus aid, but which was cut back to €17.5 billion during the negotiations between member state leaders. […]

Stumbling block in the recovery fund

German MEP Delara Burkhardt (S&D) sees the proposal for the recovery fund as a stumbling block. Although climate protection is anchored in the so-called “Recovery and Resilience Facility” (RRF), for which the Council allotted €672.5 billion, the proposal is not a complete success.

The annex to the draft lists seven priorities, which the member states can weight differently. These include investments that “effectively contribute to the green and digital transitions.”

Burkhardt fears that member states “choose the combination of criteria fulfilment in such a way that they would not have to meet any ecological conditions at all. This is especially possible if they instead fully focus on digital transformation.”

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