The European Parliament adopted the Green Deal resolution on Wednesday. "Today, the majority in the European Parliament is exceptionally green," wrote Phoenix editor Anita Bethig in the short message service Twitter.
The previous day, the EU Commission presented its plans to finance the ecological restructuring of the EU economy. This is intended to help consumers and companies with the changes that are necessary to drastically reduce the emission of climate-damaging gases by 2030, talk of up to 50 percent compared to 1990, and to make Europe a climate-neutral continent by 2050. Climate-neutral means that no more greenhouse gases are blown into the atmosphere in the EU than are extracted from it again using technologies.
What does the green deal cost?
The Commission assumes that investments of 260 billion euros per year are necessary. The EU wants to support this restructuring financially. For one thing, an ecological investment plan is intended, which should trigger a trillion euros in investments over the next ten years.
The Commission also plans to set up a fund to just restructure the economy (“just transition fund”), which will trigger investments of EUR 100 billion. The EU alone is not able to finance these sums. Member States and private investors are to be involved.
How much money comes from the EU budget?
Brussels plans to spend a good € 500 billion on climate and the environment from 2021 to 2027. This corresponds to 25 percent of the total EU budget. The investment plan assumes that due to the financial incentives of the EU investors will invest another 280 billion euros from their own funds for projects.
The concept behind it is already being practiced by the European Investment Bank (EIB) as part of the Juncker Fund: the EU assumes the risk of projects and thus protects them for investors. With manageable EU funds, large-scale private investments are triggered – it is “leveraged”, as the EU jargon says. The member states, some of which have to co-finance EU projects within the framework of co-financing, are to contribute around 114 billion again.
What should the fund do for a just conversion?
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has promised to help regions and people who are particularly affected by the renovation. The costs of ecological conversion are to be cushioned. The EU provides 7.5 billion of its own money as an incentive for investments.
The aim of the European Investment Bank (EIB) is to provide low-interest loans for companies. The bottom line is that municipalities, member states and private investors, together with EU money, should trigger investments of EUR 100 billion in the regions.
Investments in new nuclear power plants are not funded. The Just Transition Fund will be available to all 27 Member States. In concrete terms, the fund could grant grants or cheap loans to homeowners who want to reduce the energy consumption of real estate. 108 coal regions across the EU are betting on getting money to deal with structural change.
Is there only money available for the "just conversion"?
No. The EU Commission also wants to send experts to the affected regions. They should work closely with the authorities of the member states and local authorities and involve the companies. There should also be an exchange between the regions concerned so that they can learn from each other.
How is it ensured that the projects are really green?
The EU's two CO legislators, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers of the 27 Member States, recently agreed on criteria for sustainable investment. According to this model, the EU Commission intends to present similar criteria for climate projects by 2021 and criteria for environmental projects by 2022. Funding can only be given to those who comply with the EU criteria.
Is the financial plan already decided?
No. It is as always when the EU Commission makes a proposal. Both the EU Parliament and the 27 member states still have to agree. The Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU (MFF) is specifically affected, which represents something like the EU budget for the years 2021 to 2027.
However, among the 27 Member States that essentially have to provide the funds, there is not even a beginning agreement on what the next MFF should look like. Germany and other so-called net contributors still insist on significantly reducing the draft of the former EU budget commissioner Günther Oettinger for the next MFF. So everything is still subject to funding.