EU leaders’ Summit: No recovery without increased climate ambition

Climate action| Energy transition| Financing the transition

For the first time, EU leaders will discuss the European Commission’s proposals for a revised long-term EU budget, including significant recovery funding to address the economic shortfall caused by COVID-19, at an online European Summit this Friday. By focusing EU recovery spending on the green transition towards climate neutrality, heads of state and government can set the course for future sustainable and resilient economies.

Recording of a press briefing held by CAN Europe on 16 June available here.

“Today’s investment decisions will have a huge impact on tomorrow’s real world. EU leaders must be accountable to present and future generations and put the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement at the heart of their economic recovery. This is vital to protect people and economies from other, new shocks and disruptions caused by the worsening of climate change. Higher climate ambition for 2030 must be the guiding principle of the recovery,” said Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

The current proposals of the Commission do not yet give sufficient guarantees that climate ambition will prevail in Member States’ spending. The so-called ‘recovery plans’, where Member States must feature their roadmaps for spending the €560 billion of the new ‘Recovery and Resilience Facility’, do not oblige recipient countries to invest in the green transition. Climate spending targets have been lifted to grant Member States with maximum flexibility on how they will use the funds in the short term, and financial support to fossil fuel activities and companies are not excluded from the scope of the economic stimulus measures.

Markus Trilling, finance and subsidies policy coordinator added: “EU leaders must not sacrifice EU’s climate commitments in the name of short-term interests. While the economy needs considerable support to be relaunched, the investment orientations must serve the decarbonisation of all sectors of the economy, not climate-wrecking activities. EU leaders must exclude support to fossil fuels, and make their upcoming recovery plans in line with necessary climate action.”

Economic recovery and climate ambition should go hand in hand, as the next decade will be crucial to both exit from the current crisis in a sustainable way, and to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C as agreed under the Paris Agreement. All countries need to submit enhanced 2030 climate targets by the end of this year. For EU climate action to align with science and equity, EU Heads of State and Government will have to agree on a 2030 climate target of at least 65% emission cuts, as supported by key members of the European Parliament.

Energy Scenarios Policy Coordinator of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Jörg Mühlenhoff added: “A 65% emission cut is not only desirable to buffer people from the climate threat, it is feasible if backed by adequate funding in the energy infrastructure of tomorrow. What better time than now to launch a renovation wave, replace inefficient fossil heating systems and electricity supply with renewables? Preserving the current system is much more expensive.”


Nicolas Derobert, head of communications,, +32 483 62 18 88
Cristina Dascalu, communications coordinator,

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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