A Recovery with Green Elements, but not a Green Recovery

Latest findings from the Green Recovery Tracker for Recovery and Recilience Plan submissions

  • News 10.05.2021

Last summer EU leaders agreed that these plans would have to advance the green transition, committing at least 37 per cent of spending to support climate objectives, with the remainder required to "do no significant harm." On 30 April, 2021 was the deadline for EU member states to submit their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs), in order to access funds from the 672.5 billion euros Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The "Green Recovery Tracker," a joint project by the Wuppertal Institute and E3G in close collaboration with national experts, has been analysing RRPs to see whether they live up to these ambitions. In the last months, we have analysed 14 EU national recovery including France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Belgium, Estonia, Finland and Czechia. The analysis of 14 RRPs and recovery packages has determined a green spending share of recovery measures in the EU of just 24 per cent, with only EUR 68 billion euros (out of 422 billion euros) going to activities that fully support the green transition. At least eight plans are not currently meeting the criteria of at least 37 per cent green spending share. An initial overview suggests that the Spanish (31 per cent), Finnish (42 per cent), Belgium (35 per cent) and Slovakia (30 per cent) plans are among those performing better than others on green spending share. Poland (18 per cent), Portugal (19 per cent), and Slovenia (5 per cent) are among those performing less well.

This once-in-a-decade investment package and yet it does not feel like it, because"what was supposed to be an investment in the next generation, instead risks locking future generations into an unsustainable future," says Helena Mölter, Researcher in the Future Energy and Innovation Research Unit at the Wuppertal Institute.Although member states have used the opportunity to introduce much needed investments in energy efficiency, renewables, and clean transport solutions, most plans lack an overall vision of a green transition. Moreover, the assessments oft the Green Recovery Tracker show a lack of additionality: Most investments were planned already before the RRPs, which means that the opportunity to use these funds to take the green transformation a significant step further is not being taken, adding Helena Mölter.
The next two months present an important credibility test for the Commission. It is imperative that the Commission properly scrutinises the plans and ensures milestones and targets set in the coming months provide clarity on where exactly recovery funding will be used.

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