Brussels — The European Commission is urging EU national governments to prioritize using EU economic recovery fund money to promote renewables, energy efficiency and clean transport, it said Sept. 17.
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The draft, Eur672.5-billion ($793 billion) EU Recovery and Resilience Facility is part of the EU's Eur750 billion NextGenerationEU economy recovery fund intended to kick-start EU economies after the pandemic lockdowns while supporting the EU's energy transition to becoming climate neutral by 2050.
The EC has put investing in "future-proof clean technologies" and developing and using more renewables as the first priority area.
The second priority area is renovating public and private buildings to improve energy efficiency. This is intended to cut energy demand in buildings, which is a large part of EU gas demand.
The third priority area is again promoting "future-proof clean technologies" to speed up using sustainable, accessible and smart transport, as well as charging and refueling stations, and extending public transport.
There are four other priority areas, including digital infrastructure and scaling up Europe's data cloud capacities.
National governments will be able to access this money by formally submitting national recovery and resilience plans to the EC setting out how they propose to spend it.
The EC will assess all the proposals to ensure they are in line with the EU's wider goals, including the energy transition, and that they respect a "do no harm" principle.
The EC's proposals on how to allocate the money to governments based on its assessments of their plans will have to be approved by the EU Council, representing national governments.
The EC hopes that the draft legislation setting up the facility and the process to access it will be in force from January 1, after being approved by the European Parliament and EU Council.
National governments would then have until April 30 to submit their formal plans, but the EC is also encouraging them to submit preliminary draft plans from Oct. 15.
This is so the EC can work with the governments on preparing the final plan.