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28 Apr 2021, 13:15
Charlotte Nijhuis

Germany to invest 40% of EU recovery funds in climate protection

Clean Energy Wire / Der Spiegel

Germany plans to use the EU coronavirus recovery funds to finance climate action and digitalisation projects, finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced at a press conference during which he and French economy minister Bruno Le Maire jointly presented the national plans. Of the 26 billion euros Germany will receive, 40 percent, or 11 billion euros, is earmarked for climate-related investments --“well beyond the ambitious targets [37 percent] set by the EU,” Scholz said. The money will flow mainly to investments in climate-friendly mobility and hydrogen research. Another 50 percent of the funds, or 13 billion euros, will go towards facilitating digital change. "We are sending a clear signal for a climate-friendly and digital future," Scholz said.

The German plans were met with criticism from environmentalists and opposition parties, Der Spiegel reports. “A tired reform plan instead of a powerful exit from the crisis," said the environmental organisation WWF, adding that the federal government was "merely refinancing a large part of the corona measures of the past year.” The Green Party accused the government of "fine math instead of an additional growth stimulus for real climate protection”. Franziska Brantner, European policy spokeswoman for the Greens’ Bundestag parliamentary group, said: "It would have been more effective to put the money into European energy, data and rail networks." Member of the European Parliament from the pro-business FDP party Moritz Körner accused the government of "decadent unwillingness to reform,” arguing that “subsidy projects that have been planned for a long time have been shamelessly relabeled as reform projects.” Conservative CSU MEP Markus Ferber said he "would have expected more from Germany."

The ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain are to hand over their national recovery plans to the European Commission on Wednesday.

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