On 21 July, EU leaders agreed on a €1.8 trillion package that should boost the recovery after the COVID-19 crisis, but also contribute to the advancement of key EU societal objectives, starting with the climate transition. In this blog post we assess the green ambitions of the package and evaluate its consistency with the European Green Deal.
How do we make the EU fit for future?
On 14 January 2020, the European Commission published its proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism, intended to provide support to territories facing serious socioeconomic challenges related to the transition towards climate neutrality. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of how the EU can best ensure a ‘just transition’ in all its territories and for all its citizens with the tools at its disposal. It provides an overview and a critical assessment of the Commission's proposal, and suggests possible amendments based on best practices from other just-transition initiatives.
Government policy faces various challenges. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the European Union set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions. Now in the midst of the pandemic, the EU has temporarily lifted state-aid rules allowing governments to steer companies through the crisis and to minimise job losses using public money. This column suggests combining these policies by attaching green conditions to state aid. In that way, we can aim for a green recovery.
When it comes to global carbon emission is a tax the best form of defence? To make the European Green Deal work, the EU is considering a levy on carbon-intensive goods manufactured beyond its borders. But will a carbon border tax spawn a massive bureaucracy and lead to accusations of protectionism? To find out, Nicholas Barrett talked to Georg Zachmann and Ben McWilliams from Bruegel and Gabriel Felbermayr, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
How will the border carbon adjustment be implemented and what will be the implications?
The European Commission should not make the implementation of a carbon border adjustment mechanism into a must-have element of its climate policy. There is little in the way of strong empirical evidence that would justify a carbon-adjustment measure. Moreover, significant logistical, legal and political challenges will arise during the design. The EU should instead focus upon the implementation of measures to trigger the development of a competitive low-carbon industry in Europe.
Brussels should ensure that fossil fuels do not get direct or indirect support from governments
The European Green Deal is one of the landmarks of Ursula von der Leyen's Commission. But, without an ambitious investment behind it, what could be its potential implications for the EU? Could it go as far as to threaten the EU's single market? This week, Renew Europe's vice-president, MEP Luis Garicano, joins Guntram Wolff and Maria Demertzis to discuss not only the European Green Deal but also the EU Budget and the Banking Union. Disclaimer: this episode was recorded on the 20th of February, before Bruegel hosted the event "The Ressurection of the European Banking Union".
A European Climate and Sustainable Development Bank could become the external investment arm of the European Green Deal.
€1 trillion isn't enough for the European Green Deal and the EU's fiscal framework is constraining public investment. "Mrs Merkel, tear down this rule".
The European Commission has presented its Just Transition Fund to help regions still dependent on fossil fuel as they move towards green energy. But where does the money come from and is it enough to make Europe carbon neutral by 2050? Should the EU re-write its fiscal rules to encourage sustainable investment? And should environmentalists be optimistic? Nicholas Barrett asked Simone Tagliapietra and Grégory Claeys.