Recovery and Resilience Plans need improvements, NGOs remind

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Europe’s biggest civil society networks – Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), CEE Bankwatch Network, Birdlife Europe, EuroNatur, Climate & Sustainability, and Greenpeace European Office, sent a joint letter to European Environment Ministers to urge them to change course, and to amend draft Recovery and Resilience Plans in order to accelerate EU’s transition towards climate neutrality and ecological sustainability.

The letter reminds Member States that current draft version of Recovery and Resilience Plans fail to deliver on their promises to tackle the climate crisis, protect and restore nature and to build a truly circular economy. It calls upon the Member States to radically improve these Plans before submitting them to the European Commission by the end of April. Member States should allocate at least 40% of all investments to climate action and nature protection, ensure structural green policy reforms, exclude environmentally damaging projects and false solutions such as fossil gas or hydropower from plans, and improve transparency and public participation.

Finance and Subsidies Policy Coordinator of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Markus Trilling said: “Europe cannot afford a business as usual recovery, if it is serious about tackling the climate crisis. It is crucial to use the hundreds of billions of EU funding, to accelerate the just transition to a safe climate. Member States and the Commission have to get this right as there is no time to lose. We need to massively increase investments in the already available zero carbon alternatives, accompanied by the necessary regulatory reforms. Missing this opportunity would have significant impacts on Europeans’ future, prosperity and postpone the much needed transformation of our economies.”

Director of EuroNatur, Gabriel Schwaderer, said: “According to our assessments of already existing National Recovery and Resilience Plans, Member states have foreseen less than 1% of their RRF spending for biodiversity. We wonder how the targets of the 2030 Biodiversity strategy will be reached if we miss this unique opportunity.”

President of Climate & Sustainability, and Green Recovery Partnership Facilitator, Elise Buckle said: “We are facing a systemic crisis which is impacting climate, people and nature at an unprecedented scale. Now is the time for a systemic transformation and a strong response from the EU and all Member States. Europe can become the champion of a truly green, healthy and just recovery for all, but only if Member States do walk the talk and allocate at least 40% of all investments in climate action and nature protection. All European Heads of States – except in Poland-, have endorsed the Leaders Pledge for Nature. The Pledge must now be turned into action by the Ministries of Finance that are shaping and implementing their national resilience and recovery plans.”