A group of 180 business leaders, politicians, trade unions, NGOs and think tanks have launched a European Alliance for a Green Recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
The signatories of the alliance call for post-Covid-19 green investment packages that will work to build a recovery that enshrines the fight against climate change and for biodiversity as a key pillar of the economic strategy.
“Covid-19 will not make climate change and nature degradation go away. The fight against this crisis will not be won without a solid economic response. The alliance commits to participate in the fight and the victory of these two battles simultaneously, and by doing so, being stronger together,” they say.
The launch of the alliance is signed by ministers from 11 countries, 79 cross-party members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 17 Member States, 37 CEOs, 28 business associations representing 10 different sectors, trade union confederation representing members from 90 national trade union organisations and 10 trade union federations, 7 NGOs and 6 think tanks – with a strong bias towards Western Europe and Green Party politicians.
The signatories include WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson, SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger; E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen, Iberdrola CEO Ignacio Galán, Engie vice president Claire Waysand and Enel CEO Francesco Starace; the CEOs of Ikea parent the INGKA group and the LEGO group; the environment or energy ministers of Italy, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Germany; and the Agora Energiewende think tank, among others.
Spain’s wind energy association (AEE), which also signed the European Alliance for a Green Recovery, stressed that the signatories have pledged to work together, share knowledge, interchange experiences and create synergies to launch the investments needed for a green recovery.
“And they explicitly support the (EU) Commission's Green Deal as it has enormous potential to rebuild the European economy,” the AEE said.
WindEurope and SolarPower Europe already in late March together with several dozen other industry bodies have called upon EU political leaders to build the European Green Deal into economic stimulus packages to counter the economic meltdown triggered by the coronavirus lockdown measures.
Heads of government from the EU’s 27 member states in a joint statement after a video-conference summit in March also said a post-Covid-19 recover should be built around the “green transition and digital transformation”.
But the inclusion of the EU’s Green Deal in the crisis response strategy was somewhat timid, and there are already voices to scrap or delay green transition policies in order to concentrate on rapid economic growth no matter in what shape.
Some Eastern European leaders have called for a scrapping of the Green Deal, while more conservative parts of Germany’s governing Christian Democrats (CDU) have mocked the insistence of the renewables sector on improving energy transition issues in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Germany’s powerful car industry has also suggested a loosening of emission rules in order to kick-start the industry without too many environmental burdens.