Germany's green recovery efforts fail to reach EU minimum share – analysis
Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel Background
Germany's investments in green projects in the context of the European coronavirus recovery programme remain in need of improvement, as transparency and enforcement of their environmental benefits are largely unassured, an analysis by the think tanks Wuppertal Institute and E3G has shown. The German government had presented a recovery package worth 130 billion euros last year. At the end of 2020 it also announced it would add almost 30 billion euros to the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility greenlighted by the EU Parliament on 9 February, but the think tanks found that the country's green spending share of these funds remains significantly below the 37 percent benchmark set by the EU. "When assessing all recovery measures, Germany reaches a green spending share of just 22 percent. In contrast, 36 percent of all measures have a negative impact or are at least at risk of having a negative effect on the green transition," they argued. While the national recovery measures do unlock "some necessary progress" to spur decarbonisation, they remain often rather ambiguous, particularly in the automotive industry, where controversial plug-in hybrid and combustion engine technology still receive support.
E3G's Felix Heilmann told energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background that Germany's low green investment share would also be due to the fact that the government simply relabelled already existing projects that fit the EU's conditions and did not release any new funds to supplement green recovery efforts. "It's a sign of weakness that most of the EU money is not spent on additional projects," Heilmann said. The fact that France, Europe's second biggest economy after Germany, appears similarly unambitious to top up its climate spending could bode ill for the EU's overall green recovery effort, Damian Boeselager, member of the EU Parliament, told Tagesspiegel. "If other countries see that the European heavyweights don't move in the right direction in terms of a comprehensive modernisation and new investments and reforms, they won't be bringing forward important reform initiatives themselves," Boeselager warned.