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From: Benny Peiser
To: Rep. Briscoe, J.,
Subject: European Parliament Rejects EU Recovery Plan Over Cuts To Climate Funding
Date: 2020-07-24T08:07:28Z
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GWPF Samizdat

24 July 2020


European Parliament Rejects EU Recovery Plan Over Cuts To Climate Funding


European Parliament Rejects EU Recovery Plan Over Cuts To Climate Funding
EurActiv, 24 July 2020
The European Parliament rejected on Thursday (23 July) the hard-won decisions of the EU Council. MEPs criticised, among other things, cuts to climate programmes and voiced fear that billions of euros could fall into the wrong hands. 

The Parliament rejected the Council’s decision on the multiannual budget (MFF) and recovery plan by a clear majority. MEPs called the compromise too unambitious and criticised the cuts in climate-related funding.

Some Green MEPs expressed their disappointment in advance of the debate.
The national leaders’ agreement was a “turning away from the Green Deal,” wrote German Michael Bloss. “The European Union must cut back its support programme for CO2-free steel. The programme for investments in the future has been cut by €30.3 billion to now €5.6 billion. The fund to support coal regions purrs together from €40 billion to €10 billion,” he complained.
In a resolution drafted by the group leaders on Wednesday (22 July), the Parliament said, among other things, “we believe that the proposed cuts in programmes for the transition of coal-dependent regions run counter to the Green Deal agenda.”
This refers in particular to the Just Transition Fund (JTF), which the Commission had wanted to increase from €7.5 billion to €40 billion as part of the EU’s coronavirus aid, but which was cut back to €17.5 billion during the negotiations between member state leaders. […]
Stumbling block in the recovery fund
German MEP Delara Burkhardt (S&D) sees the proposal for the recovery fund as a stumbling block. Although climate protection is anchored in the so-called “Recovery and Resilience Facility” (RRF), for which the Council allotted €672.5 billion, the proposal is not a complete success.

The annex to the draft lists seven priorities, which the member states can weight differently. These include investments that “effectively contribute to the green and digital transitions.”
Burkhardt fears that member states “choose the combination of criteria fulfilment in such a way that they would not have to meet any ecological conditions at all. This is especially possible if they instead fully focus on digital transformation.”

Court of Auditors warns against lax controls

Green MEP Rasmus Andresen called for Parliament and the European Court of Auditors to be given a right of veto over the approval of national investment plans. In the past, the Court of Auditors had already denounced the inspection methods of the Commission on several occasions.

In a statement issued in early July, financial supervisors noted that the EU’s climate change spending to date had been overestimated, while negative effects of spending, for example in agriculture, had not been sufficiently taken into account.

On Wednesday, the Court of Auditors made further progress. Even in the previous proposal for the JTF, it said, “the link between performance and financing is relatively weak.” This “poses a significant risk that the JTF will not help to end the strong dependence of some regions on carbon-intensive activities,” it said.

Full story


MEPs Ready To Withhold Approval Of EU Budget
Politico, 23 July 2020
European Parliament will ‘not rubber-stamp’ the deal unless it is changed, according to resolution.

Members of the European Parliament are prepared to "withhold their consent" for the EU’s long-term budget if the deal agreed this week by EU leaders is not improved upon.

A total of 465 MEPs on Thursday voted in favor and 150 against a resolution that calls the deal on a recovery fund a "historic move," but also criticizes big cuts to EU programs as part of the €1.82 trillion budget-and-recovery package approved Tuesday by heads of state and government.

Many MEPs expressed their frustration at the deal during a debate with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel earlier Thursday.
The resolution is nonbinding but does show the level of anger at the deal among many EU lawmakers.
The Parliament “does not accept … the political agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 as it stands,” the resolution says. “It will not rubber-stamp a fait accompli.”
MEPs are “prepared to withhold their consent” for the EU budget until they get a "satisfactory agreement" on a range of issues — including on health, research and climate — the resolution adds.
MEPs' consent will also be conditional, the text says, on the introduction of a "full basket of new own resources" — shorthand for new sources of income for the EU budget.
The resolution also states that Parliament “strongly regrets” how leaders weakened efforts made by the Commission and Parliament to tie EU funding to the rule of law.

It adds that Parliament wants to “engage immediately in constructive negotiations with the Council to improve the proposal.”
MEPs will not get to vote on the EU’s recovery plan. But they do have to give their consent to the budget, to which the recovery plan is tied.

See also GWPF coverage of Europe's Green Deal crisis

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