Over a million people have signed petitions calling on the European Union (EU) to restart its coronavirus-battered economy by launching a major green stimulus package.
Tomorrow (May 15), MEPs will meet to discuss the EU’s Recovery Fund and seven-year budget ahead of the European Commission’s much-awaited proposal next week.
Alongside, the ‘Green 10’ coalition of environmental groups has organised an appeal urging lawmakers to design a ‘green, healthy and just’ recovery with a fund investing hundreds of billions into home renovations, scaling up renewable energy, restoring natural habitats, boosting public transport and zero-emission mobility, and greening agriculture.
The environmental groups have stressed that all recovery plans must put people’s wellbeing at the heart of the crisis response, deliver social benefits and protect workers’ rights through a ‘just transition for all’.
The NGOs and petitioners warn against EU and national governments bailing out polluting industries involved in sectors such as gas, oil and coal, chemicals, cars and airlines.
They say any stimulus investments must be conditional on companies’ alignment with social, environmental and climate objectives. The EU must improve the environmental safeguards of the next budget, dedicating at least 50% to climate and the environment and excluding all fossil fuel subsidies.
Ester Asin, director of the WWF European Policy Office, said: “We’ve heard a lot of lip service paid to a ‘green recovery’ lately, but now it’s time for decision-makers to put their money where their mouth is. The current crisis is a stark reminder of how closely human and planetary health are interlinked – only together can people and nature thrive.
‘A green recovery means restoring nature, protecting our environment, and accelerating the transition to a carbon-neutral and resilient economy. MEPs must lead the way.’