Green budget rules won’t be the hottest potato at EU summit talks

(EurActiv, 15 Jul 2020) Plans to reserve 30% of European Union spending for climate objectives will not be the hottest topic on the agenda when EU leaders meet on Friday (17 July). And that may be good news for the climate.

Instead, leaders are expected to fight over the size of the EU’s €1 trillion budget for the next seven years (2021-2027) and haggle over a proposed €750 billion recovery fund from the coronavirus crisis.

Other hot issues include the rebates that richer EU nations will get from their contribution to the EU budget as well as the share of loans and grants that will be distributed under the recovery plan – a battle pitching frugal Northern states against the poorer South.

“Green conditionality is one of the less difficult ones,” admitted an EU diplomat with insider knowledge of the discussions taking place between European heads of states and governments.

That doesn’t mean the bloc’s climate goals won’t cause any tensions, though.

At an EU summit last December, Poland was the only country that refused to sign up to a joint statement backing the bloc’s objective of reducing emissions to net-zero by 2050.

And ahead of this week’s budget talks, Warsaw warned it would reject proposals to link the disbursement of EU money to climate goals.

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EurActiv, 15 Jul 2020: Green budget rules won’t be the hottest potato at EU summit talks