How green is Europe's restart really?
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen received the highest praise for her 750 billion euro program from Italy, Spain and Poland. The three countries that will benefit most from the funding. But the ambassadors from Italy, Spain and Poland not only praised in Brussels, they also pushed the pace yesterday: the money had to flow quickly now.
Rapid outflow of funds - in the language of the diplomats: Please do not attach too many conditions to the funding.
Even if time is short because the economy has slumped in some regions of Europe, the EU Commission wants to stick to its climate protection goals. The Corona economic stimulus package is intended to co-finance the green restructuring of the economy.
Don't put new money in the old CO2 economy
No new money in the old CO2 economy, that's what Commissioner responsible for climate protection Franz Timmermans demands. Immediately after the billion-dollar package was announced, he made it clear to the recipient countries that many aid funds will be tied to green requirements:
"The member countries will have to submit national development plans with a green core."
This will be checked, says the climate commissioner, only in this way can it be ensured that the aid money also benefits the environmentally friendly restructuring of the economy. Nevertheless, companies can also count on funding that currently has a poor environmental balance. However, on one condition:
"Companies that have a large carbon footprint are encouraged to write a green reform plan so that we know it's going in the right direction."
Doubt whether conditions go far enough
However, there are also doubts as to whether the requirements are sufficient. Too little concrete, too little ambitious, says Bas Eickhout, the environmental expert of the Greens in the European Parliament. The Dutchman is particularly disappointed with the key issue of energy generation and hydrogen:
"What does a clean hydrogen economy mean? It should be based on renewable energy, but the Commission also wants to allow gas, which is still the combustion industry."
The green politician also believes that the investment program does not provide enough climate requirements for agriculture. However, the Commission's hands are tied, because there is no majority among the member states for an ecological transformation of the subsidy policy.
:By Helga Schmidt, ARD studio Brussels Deutschland