EU recovery plan allows continued support to climate polluting fossil fuels, lifting climate spending targets

Financing the transition

The European Commission has revealed its long-awaited proposal to relaunch the European economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite repeated commitments by the European Commission to make the European Green Deal the blueprint of the recovery, the proposal still allows for money to be spent on supporting fossil fuels and is lifting climate spending targets in regional development funding, while the climate emergency would need a rapid phase-out of these polluting fuels and strong climate earmarking.

The Commission had proposed to lift climate spending earmarking under the ‘Corona Virus Investment Initiative’ in early April to enable Member States to spend unused EU funds for rapid crisis response. Fossil fuel subsidies are allowed under these rules. Today the Commission proposes to keep these rules valid until 2022.

In addition, the Commission plans to shift all future cohesion programmes beyond 2022 away from green objectives.

Markus Trilling, finance and subsidies policy coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe reacted:

“The Commission failed to make the Green Deal the European Union’s roadmap out of the COVID-19 crisis. By letting taxpayer’s money be spent on fossil fuels, the Commission does not acknowledge the importance of long-term investment decisions for achieving climate neutrality. The lack of a more ambitious climate action target for the EU budget and the new recovery fund risks derailing the European climate and environmental objectives.”

“By giving Member States greater flexibility on how they will use EU regional development funds until as late as 2022, and by derailing programmes from green objectives later, the EU runs the risk of more polluting activities being subsidised. But we have no time to lose if the EU is serious about limiting dangerous climate change and its dire economic impacts.”

“The Commission plans to shift Regional Development funding post-2022 away from climate objectives. This will bury EU funds’ potential to catalyse the green and just transition.”


Nicolas Derobert, Head of communications,, +32 483 62 18 88

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.


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