Environment

EU heads promise to stick with sustainability in COVID-19 recovery

EU heads promise to stick with sustainability in COVID-19 recovery

Photo: Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Published

March 31, 2020

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Published:

March 31, 2020

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Members of the European Council added a reference to the green transition to the draft joint statement after a virtual summit. Prime ministers and presidents of EU countries urged officials on all levels to integrate sustainability measures in efforts to heal the economy from the damage amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The European Union must integrate the green transition and digitization in relief measures and “unprecedented investment” needed for the economy to rebound, members of the European Council have stressed after a summit held via video call. In a joint statement, the EU leaders asked the European Parliament and the European Commission to keep sustainability in focus for the measures for returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The response roadmap and the creation of an action plan should include “a more ambitious and wide-ranging crisis management system” and lessons from the crisis need to be drawn, the heads of state or government added.

Further action in inclusive way

The presidents and prime ministers referred to the coronavirus outbreak as “an unprecedented challenge” in Europe and on a global scale. It requires urgent, decisive, and comprehensive action at the 27-member bloc’s national, regional and local levels, they underscored.

Members of the European Council urged “further action in an inclusive way” and said a coordinated exit strategy and comprehensive recovery plan must be drawn up.

European Commission to stay on course

Euractiv reported the draft conclusion didn’t include a reference to the green transition. The EU’s move comes after the Czech Republic and Poland suggested the sustainability push with the European Green Deal should be taken off the list of priorities amid the efforts to heal the economy from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Commission responded by reaffirming its dedication to the “political guidelines” and added the European Green Deal is President Ursula von der Leyen’s “growth strategy.”

Do away with polluters

SolarPower Europe said it is working on proposals and that it aims to get support for investments in photovoltaic technology. Greenpeace called “on the protection of workers and a transition to a just and green society” and added that “mistakes” have been made in recovery measures from the previous global financial crisis.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and other environmental groups claimed welfare depends on the environment and climate. Obsolete and polluting industries have no future in tomorrow’s economy, they wrote and warned against putting such companies on life support.

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