European Union leaders clinched an “historic” deal on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-throttled economies in the early hours of Tuesday, after a fractious summit that lasted almost five days. The agreement paves the way for the European Commission, the EU’s executive, to raise billions of euros on capital markets on behalf of all 27 states, an unprecedented act of solidarity in almost seven decades of European integration. Summit chairman Charles Michel called the accord, reached at a 5.15 a.m. (0315 GMT), “a pivotal moment” for Europe. Many had warned that a failed summit amid the coronavirus pandemic would have put the bloc’s viability in serious doubt after years of economic crisis and Britain’s recent departure. Under the compromise, the Commission will borrow 750 billion euros using its triple-A debt rating, disbursing 390 billion in grants – less than the originally targeted 500 billion – and 360 billion in cheap loans. The recovery plan now faces a potentially difficult passage through the European Parliament and it must be ratified by all member states, which will mean a delay getting the funds to economies that desperately need the help now.
Reuters 21st July 2020 read more »
The final deal also swung in Poland’s favour by watering down a demand to link green transition funds to signing up to the 2050 climate target to the consternation of activist groups and senior MEPs. Poland, which stands to gain €37bn in grants from the fund, plus potentially billions more from a “just transition fund” to move away from coal, is the only EU member state not to have made the 2050 pledge.
Guardian 20th July 2020 read more »
One of the biggest losers is the Just Transition Fund, which was downgraded from the Commission’s €40 billion climate action war-chest to just €10 billion, illustrating how low down the pecking order environmental policies ultimately fell during the talks. The final deal maintained the stipulation that only countries that have signed up to the EU-wide goal of climate neutrality by 2050 will be eligible for funding.
Euractiv 21st July 2020 read more »
Telegraph 21st July 2020 read more »
Times 21st July 2020 read more »
The European Commission is looking into whether nuclear energy can be classed as a sustainable green investment. But the EU executive’s decision to task its research centre with the assessment has already prompted criticism. EU member states struggled to agree on the EU taxonomy – a framework for sustainable investments that will apply from 2021 – before finally brokering an agreement in December last year. The compromise allows natural gas and nuclear energy to be used as “transitional technologies”. But the debate is far from over, as shown by a letter addressed to Commission leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Frans Timmermans from German Bundestag MP Sylvia Kotting-Uhl (Greens), seen by EURACTIV Germany. It was also sent to German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Education Minister Anja Karliczek. Kotting-Uhl says that the Commission’s decision to task the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is flawed because the scientific subdivision emerged from the EU’s Euratom programme and the research continues to be co-financed by it to this day. The fact that the review was delegated to the JRC is “absurd”, the Green MP insists, as the authority is biased and “in no way in a position to make an objective decision.”
Euractiv 20th July 2020 read more »