EU infrastructure investment plan ‘to continue’
The EU Green Deal is the European Commission’s roadmap for making the EU's economy sustainable by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas with a target of the bloc becoming climate-neutral by 2050. To achieve this the European Green Deal's EUR1trn investment plan, the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, is to mobilise EU funding and create an enabling framework to facilitate and stimulate the public and private investments needed for the transition.
A Commission spokesperson told Partnerships Bulletin: “COVID-19 is a severe public health emergency for our citizens, societies and economies with infections in all Member States. The situation is evolving on a daily and hourly basis. At this stage we cannot speculate on potential implications in individual policy areas.
The Commission will continue to maintain its functioning. While our immediate focus is on combating COVID-19, our work on delivering the European Green Deal continues.”
Personnel at the EU institutions have been directly affected by COVID-19 and both the Commission and European Investment Bank (EIB) have switched to teleworking.
The spokesperson added: “The climate crisis is still a reality, and necessitates our continued attention and efforts. This is one of the very reasons why we presented the climate law: to avoid that climate action, a generational task, is obfuscated by more pressing and immediate challenges”.
On Monday, Andrej Babis Prime Minister of the Czech Republic called for the Green Deal to be postponed to allow the EU to focus on the coronavirus crisis.
The following day, the Commission approved a EUR1.4bn investment package in 14 large infrastructure projects in Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain. The projects cover several key areas such as environment, health, transport and energy for a smarter, low-carbon Europe. The Czech project is a new efficient and reliable double-circuit power line between Přeštice and Vítkov which is to receive EUR37m from the European Regional Development Fund.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “In such difficult times for our continent, it is crucial that Cohesion policy continues to play its role in supporting the economy for the benefit of our citizens. Today's major project adoptions show that EU funding, and Cohesion policy in particular, delivers concrete results, helping regions and cities becoming a safer, cleaner and more comfortable place for people and business. Many of the approved projects also help delivering on the goals of the European Green Deal. When the European Commission, Member States and regions join forces, we can achieve a lot.”
Both the Commission and the EIB have also confirmed to Partnerships Bulletin that public-private partnerships (PPP) are to continue to support the delivery of the EU’s investment plans.
Details on the European Union’s investment plans and the emerging impact on the global PPP pipeline of the Covid-19 pandemic will both feature in the upcoming edition of Partnerships Bulletin magazine to be released next week.