German government to push “green recovery” in EU Council presidency
Clean Energy Wire
Dealing with the coronavirus crisis will be the main priority of the German EU Council presidency in the second half of 2020, chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders of the European parliament. In addition, a leaked paper by the Foreign Office said issues like Brexit and long-term budget negotiations will “demand a lot of attention”. However, climate policy linked to the European Green Deal and the digital transformation remain “at the centre” of government planning, said the paper. “Even while crisis adaptation is necessary, the federal government strives for an ambitious climate policy and designing a sustainable, digital Europe,” states the paper, which was sent to the EU committee of the national parliament (Bundestag). “Recovery after the crisis must be a ‘green recovery,’” it adds. Together with the two next Council presidencies – Portugal and Slovenia – Germany forms the so-called “trio presidency” and develops a more long-term programme. A draft of this, seen by Clean Energy Wire, calls the response to the COVID-19 crisis the “foremost priority”, but here too, “building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe” is named as one priority.
Before the coronavirus crisis hit, the EU and Germany were seen to hold a pivotal role in driving global climate ambition in 2020. With the postponement of the UN climate conference COP26 (possibly to November 2021) and a general focus on dealing with the pandemic, climate policy could take a backseat. However, EU and German leaders have made clear that it not only remain on the agenda, but that the economic recovery from the crisis should be sustainable, with the European Green Deal as a central vehicle. The government plans to present its final presidency programme "shortly before" its kick-off on 1 July, and take into account the European Commission's adjusted work programme, it said.