Today, the Greens will discuss national recovery plans at a Party Leader's Meeting
EU member States will be presenting their national recovery and resilience plans to the European Commission by 30 April. Unprecedented amounts of funds will be allocated or lent to member states through the Recovery and Resilience Facility. These funds will need to be spent by 2026 by member states. They are critical to achieving a recovery that not only addresses the pandemic but also takes into account the ongoing climate crisis and lead the EU to the necessary transformation of its economic system. National plans will have a huge impact on our ability to achieve our climate goals in Europe and reach our Green ambitions.
Today, on 29 April, the European Greens will host a Party Leader's Meeting on pandemic recovery and 'Building Back Greener' in order to discuss the different national plans and the direction they are going in. As European Greens, we have endorsed the Recovery Fund and the mutualisation of debt since the very beginning. Now, it is time to make sure that the goals we have been advocating for are reflected in national plans across Europe.
Throughout the last months, we have been discussing with Green politicians from all over Europe in order to understand their perspectives on different aspects of the crisis. We have been asking them to reflect upon possible tracks to "Build back Greener". Below, we feature various interviews we have been holding with them where we tackled health, mobility, equality and more. They reflect the various demands of the European Greens to ensure that national plans include the objectives of the European Green Deal to ensure a Green Recovery.
Why do we need a Green Recovery for post COVID-19 Europe?
A Green Recovery will not only enhance Europe's pandemic preparedness, but also ensure a just and sustainable transition, effectively guarding against present and future health, environmental and economic crises.
The COVID-19 pandemic cannot relegate issues of climate to the backburner. More than ever, climate needs to sit front and centre in our agendas for the future of Europe -- especially because its issues are interlinked with that of the current pandemic. We know that the agricultural sector has a 'disturbed relationship', as Petra de Sutter has put it, between wildlife and ecosystems, which allows viruses to spread.
Greens from across Europe are fighting for a Green Recovery, together. One which advocates for frontline workers and ensures a just transition for workers who will have to move to new industries. One which invests in public services and infrastructures to ensure resilience in the face of future health and environmental crises. One which stands in solidarity with the Global South and frontline communities everywhere experiencing the impact of the climate crisis.
Addressing the climate crisis through pandemic recovery
As a part of the European Greens' Green Recovery campaign, Green politicians highlight the need for a Green Recovery that is feminist and builds from inspiring initiatives at the municipal and city level.
Gergely Karácsony, Lord Mayor of Budapest:
“At the end of last year, together with the mayors of Bratislava, Prague and Warsaw, we formed the Pact of Free Cities, and we announced a Europe-wide cooperation of cities that want to participate in driving forward a green economic recovery. (…) Cities stand ready as the EU’s partners, they satisfy all criteria regarding the rule of law and transparency, and they are committed to fighting the climate crisis.”
Ernest Urtasun, MEP, Greens/EFA Group:
“We absolutely need that the Recovery Plan is aligned with the objectives of the Green Deal. If we put 750 billion euros in investment in the coming years and this is not the line to the Green Deal, Green Deal is going to fail. That's why we need that this money is not invested in fossil fuels and that it respects the objectives of emission reduction that we have set. (…) The European project can only prevail if the common bond of being a member of the same political community is respected. So that means that whatever happens in Helsinki or in Lisbon is of common concern to all of us.
Petra de Sutter, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium:
“Health is probably the most important thing for people. This is something we have all learned and European citizens have been asking already for a long time that the EU would invest more in their health. So this crisis has shown that we need more collaboration, more coordination at the EU level to be to be ready in cases of crisis like this pandemic. (…) We have to strengthen our public health sector and really invest to build resilience.”
Terry Reintke, MEP, Greens/EFA Group:
“We have seen that in this crisis there have been several ways that the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities that were already existing before. For example, in terms of the division of reproductive work. Very quickly when schools and childcare facilities were being closed down, it was kind of expected that women would basically take again the double pressure and then take care of the children at home as well. But also in terms of, for example, pressure on the labor market. So the sections of the labor market that were probably most affected in this crisis, the public sector, the health care sector, these are really the sectors where predominantly women work, this is why we could see that there was so much pressure on a group in society that already faces a lot of challenges right now. And this is why it's so important that when we are organizing this recovery we are really going to organize a feminist recovery that is taking these issues into consideration.”
Elke van Den Brandt, Brussels Minister of Mobility:
“We know that we can create different cities, better cities where people, where we can tackle poverty, tackle climate issues, we can tackle health issues. So we really need to do so. And I know if we do it all in our cities together, we will make a difference.”
Register now to our 33rd European Greens Council, happening from 25-29 May, to hear more about how the Greens' plan to rebuild back better and greener after the pandemic!