EU urges national governments to take the lead on ‘green’ state aid

(EurActiv, 12 May 2020) The European Union’s top climate official encouraged governments on Monday (11 May) to attach green conditions to public support for coronavirus-hit companies, after the bloc’s executive opted not to do so at the EU level.

The European Commission, which approves state support schemes, updated its temporary rules on Friday for firms receiving government aid during the pandemic.

The new rules ban dividends, share buybacks and bonuses for bailed-out companies, for so long as the state holds a stake in them.

But they stopped short of attaching climate-related conditions to EU approvals of state aid – despite calls from lawmakers and green groups to do so – instead leaving it to national governments to choose to add “green strings” to bailouts.

“If an airline goes to national authorities and asks for support, I think it is legitimate to ask: ‘What are you going to do for society in return? Are you going to put a cap on bonuses? Are you going to stop paying dividends? Are you going to lower your carbon footprint?'” EU Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans said in a video call with lawmakers on Monday.

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EurActiv, 12 May 2020: EU urges national governments to take the lead on ‘green’ state aid