The European Union wants the NextGenerationEU fund to be a tool to transform the economy and make it more environmentally friendly. But environmentalists across the continent warn: some of the projects are still polluting despite the green label.
Spain wants to allocate 69,500 million euros of funds to be greener. Investments will focus on the green hydrogen sector and the installation of battery plants for electric cars.
“Spain’s plan includes important advances in the area of waste, cities, green taxation, the deployment of renewables and the restoration of ecosystems. There is evidence that there is an intention to advance in the European Green Pact and also in the PNIEC, all the transversal energy transition policies “, explains Miguel Ángel Soto, from Greenpeace Spain.
But experts believe that large industries may benefit the most. “A year ago, we have been listening to how the large sectors of the automobile, energy, electricity, and tourism have been postulated. As they have deployed all their capacity for political influence and projects have also been generated for all territories. We are very afraid that these sectors of the IBEX 35 are the ones that end up monopolizing most of the aid “, Soto insists.
The aim of the plan is to help reactivate economies. But investments have a red line, they cannot go against the European goal of climate neutrality by 2050. 37% of all allocated funds must go to the green transition.
Most of the Member States have already submitted their national plans. In some cases, environmental groups are warning about what is known as a green face wash: labeling polluting projects as green. But the EU has clear guidelines on the different proposals.
“For example, financing a highway, a highway is eligible, but only if it contains elements that lead to the fulfillment of the climate objective. For example, if measures are proposed for the sides of the highway, such as planting forests. O if a certain number of charging stations for electric vehicles are built to promote electromobility that is less polluting “, details the EPP MEP, Siegfried Muresan.
The European Commission has identified more than 180 types of green investments which can help Member States to calculate the climate benefits of their projects. Now, the three EU institutions will have to give the green light to each of the recovery plans, before the money can be spent.