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EU pledges to stay green in recovery from coronavirus

SeattlePI.com Thursday, 28 May 2020
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission pledged Thursday to stay away from fossil-fueled projects in its coronavirus recovery strategy, and to stick to its target of making Europe the first climate neutral continent by the mid-century, but environmental groups said they were unimpressed.

To weather the deep recession triggered by the pandemic, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a €1.85 trillion ($2 trillion) package consisting of a revised long-term budget and a recovery fund, with 25% of the funding set aside for climate action.

To help economies from the 27-nation bloc bounce back as quick as possible, the EU's executive arm wants to massively increase a 7.5-billion euro ($8.25 billion) fund presented earlier this year that was part of an investment plan aiming at making the continent more environmentally friendly.

Under the commission's new plan, which requires the approval of member states, the mechanism will be expanded to 40 billion euros ($44 billion) and is expected to generate another 150 billion euros in public and private investment. The money is designed to help coal-dependent countries weather the costs of moving away from fossil fuels.

Environmental group WWF acknowledged the commission's efforts but expressed fears the money could go to “harmful activities such as fossil fuels or building new airports and motorways.”

“It can't be used to move from coal to coal," Frans Timmermans, the commission executive vice president in charge the European Green Deal, responded on Thursday. “It is unthinkable that support will be given to go from coal to coal. That is how we are going to approach the issue. That's the only way you can ensure you actually do not harm."

Timmermans conceded, however, that projects involving fossil fuels...
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EU pledges to stay green in recovery from coronavirus

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission pledged Thursday to stay away from fossil-fueled projects in its coronavirus recovery strategy, and to stick to its...
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