Use coronavirus recovery to make EU economy greener: Frans Timmermans
The European recovery plan for the economy must focus on making the EU economy greener, more circular, more sustainable, according the European Commissioner Frans Timmermans. "We must not return to a carbon spewing economy," he said in an open letter in seven European newspapers, including NRC, on Thursday.
Timmermans disagrees with everyone saying that the Green Deal is something Europe can no longer afford, because rebooting the economy is already costing money. "Suddenly stopping mass production is hurting our economy now, but it gives us a taste of what it could be like. Instead of imagining clean air in the heart of our cities, we can just smell it," he said.
That means no flexible emissions standards for the car industry, because that does not help, Timmermans said. The coal-fired power plants can't be allowed to stay open for longer. "More of the same in the emergency packages cannot be the answer," he said.
Timmermans said that attention must now be focused on fighting the virus. "But if we get out of the immediate crisis, we have to replace the old polluting infrastructure.
On Thursday the European Parliament also adopted a motion calling to switch to a greener economy now, NOS reports. The motion, signed by the factions to which the CDA, PvdA, VVD, D66, and GroenLinks belong, called for work on a new circular economy.
According to the European Parliament, the EU should pursue a new industrial policy, which should take take into account new potential disruptions in world trade. The majority wants essential goods like medicines and medical equipment to be made in the EU from now on.
The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also said that this is the time to stop dragging goods around the world. "We need to shorten the logistics chain of companies," she said.
President Charles Michel of the European Council also wants to use this opportunity to make the EU greener. "The European Union must become better than before, we must take advantage of this crisis."