EU’s Breton looking into ‘non-conventional’ measures to finance Green Deal

(EurActiv, 21 Jan 2020) The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, suggests tapping into the ECB’s “easy money” and issuing long-term bonds of up to 50 years in order to unlock the €1,000 billion needed to finance the European Green Deal. EURACTIV France reports.

During a visit in Paris on Monday (20 January), Thierry Breton spoke of unlocking non-conventional sources of financing to support the Green Deal, with help from the European Central Bank (ECB).

France’s EU Commissioner for the Internal Market said he intends to look into the European Green Deal particularly from an industrial and financial perspective.

But he warned against pushing for quick fixes to the climate crisis, saying the energy transition was a marathon, not a sprint. “The transition cannot be done in one day, even in Paris,” said Jacques Chirac’s former economy minister.

“I have been through industrial transitions – it lasts a generation, 25 years,” he cautioned, saying he would present “a real industrial vision that the European Union lacked” in a few week’s time.

ECB quantitative easing to the rescue

Appointed only six weeks ago, the former CEO of French digital and consulting firm Atos has started reflecting on how to finance the energy transition. He recognises that the financing needs, which the Commission estimates at €1 trillion over the next 10 years, are very ambitious.

To unlock funding of such magnitude, Breton suggests starting with the creation of very long-term bonds, “of 20, 30 or even 50 years, which would make it possible to take advantage of low or even negative interest rates”. According to him, these would be the most appropriate tools to finance the ecological transition.

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EurActiv, 21 Jan 2020: EU’s Breton looking into ‘non-conventional’ measures to finance Green Deal