CEEP welcomed the ambition of the European Commission to make the dual-transition for a more sustainable and digitalised recovery plan the key tool to repair and prepare the EU.
The EU needs a climate appropriate, resilient and resource-efficient infrastructure that exploits the full potential of the digital development and the elements of a circular economy approach. Central in providing the direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak, our members, representing employers and providers of services of general interest at the frontline of the crisis, should be placed at the very heart of the recovery and the future of the EU project.
With its proposals for a dedicated recovery instrument, the European Commission intends to secure the long-term recovery and planning of the EU Green Deal amongst others. Borrowing from financial markets, the European Commission is planning to repay the expenses contracted by this tool through new own resources, which could include the Emission Trading Scheme, a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism as well as a new digital tax. This could also stand in addition to the simplified value tax, a non-recycled plastic taxation as well as a new Energy taxation scheme.
Part of the Next Generation EU, the Recovery and Resilience facility plan with a budget of €560 billion should support Member States to implement investments and reforms that are essential for a sustainable recovery. Member States will design their own tailored national recovery plans, based on the investment and reform priorities identified as part of the European Semester, in line with National Climate and Energy Plans (NECP), Just Transition Plans and Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes under EU funds.
The Commission is also planning on strengthening the Just Transition Fund with an additional €32.5 billion. This funding will be used to alleviate the socio-economic impacts of the transition, supporting re-skilling, helping SMEs to create new economic opportunities, and investing in the clean energy transition.
Fortunately, the EU Green Deal’s climate policies didn’t take a severe hit from the original process, and were not heavily delayed as feared. The policy files that will see some delay according to the revised European Commission 2020 Work Programme are the 8th Environmental Action Programme (Q4 2020), the Smart Mobility Strategy (Q4 2020) and the Climate Adaptation Strategy (Q1 2021). However, important files are planned to continue such as the Smart Sector Integration Strategy (publish date 24 June), the EU Climate Law, Just Transition Fund, the Biodiversity Strategy and the EU Climate Emission Targets for 2030.
The unique opportunity to reach for a better and more sustainable Europe is now. SGIs and public services are at the forefront in turning this vision into a reality. With their expertise and their proximity to society they will provide Europe with the necessary tools to achieve its ambitious goals. To say the least, SGIs and public services have shown immense resilience during this crisis, providing essential supplies to the public such as energy, water supply and disposal of waste and transportation. It is exactly at this point, where Europe has to shift its focus and recognize its true potential for a sustainable and resilient Europe by mobilizing and supporting its most essential assets: the services of general interest.