European Green Deal Investment Plan

EESC opinion: European Green Deal Investment Plan

Key points:

The EESC :

  • insists on the urgent need for an effective recovery plan in response to the coronavirus outbreak, building on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the European Green Deal, in order to mitigate the negative impacts of the crisis and to put Europe back on track towards achieving the SDGs and the objectives of the European Green Deal;
  • welcomes the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan (SEIP) as the first comprehensive policy measure to fulfil very ambitious targets of carbon neutrality until 2050 in line with the EU Green Deal;
  • regrets the lack of consistency with the budgetary allocation within the next Multiannual Financial Framework that is far below the 1.3% of Member States' GNI requested by the European Parliament and the EESC to ensure that each specific action can reach its full scope without sacrificing others;
  • expresses its doubts about the effectiveness of climate mainstreaming in all EU programmes and calls on the Member States to involve civil society organisations in pushing for climate-proof EU spending;
  • welcomes the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) but deplores the clear insufficiency of the Just Transition Fund (JTF) budgetary provisions;
  • endorses the holistic approach and warmly welcomes the incentives for public and private investment and financing, particularly for green public procurement and the expected support through more flexible state aid rules;
  • also supports the improvement of the EU fiscal governance considering sustainability risks, learning from the screening of green budgeting best practices and fiscal plans. Additionally, appropriate tax treatment for crowd funders and donors is needed to complete the stimulus policy;
  • reiterates that the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union is also required to develop an efficient and integrated Capital Markets Union and Banking Union, encompassing all Member States and geared to further harmonisation;
  • calls for the European Semester process related to the Green Deal to be improved by placing the SDGs at the heart of EU policymaking, as well as a more comprehensive EU taxonomy that incorporates the social dimension;
  • welcomes the next review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), with enough depth to encourage companies to face the understanding of their true impacts, to be accompanied by standardised environmental and social clauses in public procurement;
  • calls for deeper and better use of public statistical sources, strengthening the role of Eurostat and the public registries in order to provide sound data related to performance "in sustainability terms";
  • underlines the importance of providing all potential users with accurate, easily accessible information so as to further facilitate tailor-made advisory and technical assistance;
  • advocates for clear strategies on skills foresight and vocational training with associated roadmaps to make and keep the workforce fit for the future needs in all sectors;
  • suggests that EU Member States enhance financial education programmes by including sustainable finance, encouraging public administrations at all levels to introduce tax incentives for companies and individuals to invest in green initiatives with social impact.