European Parliament votes overwhelmingly to pass green 'REPowerEU' legislation

European Parliament votes overwhelmingly to pass green 'REPowerEU' legislation
Credit: Kurt Desplenter/Belga

The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of incorporating key parts of the EU's flagship REPowerEU initiative into national Covid-19 recovery plans, as part of a broader effort by the bloc to decouple from Russian energy and accelerate its green transition.

In a vote held on Thursday, the Parliament voted 471 to 40 (with 53 abstentions) to support the Commission's proposal that applications by Member States for funds from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility — a fund specifically designed to help Member States mitigate the adverse economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic — "will be required to include measures to save energy, produce clean energy and diversify energy supplies, as foreseen in the EU’s REPowerEU plan."

According to a parliamentary press release, these measures "should prioritise investments to tackle energy poverty for vulnerable households, small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-enterprises."

A house united

In a subsequent press conference, Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament, claimed that the legislation is a "potential game-changer", adding that the fact that the measures were supported by a large majority of MEPS "shows the importance of this legislation and the united position of this house."

"The clear message from the European Parliament is that we need this legislation now," Metsola said.

Metsola further claimed that the speedy adoption of the Commission's proposal demonstrates that the "Parliament is an efficient and constructive partner," and that there is thus "no need for emergency measures" to be implemented to accelerate the pace of the EU's legislative process to cope with the current energy crisis.

The REPowerEU Plan, launched in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, is an ambitious multibillion euro initiative which aims simultaneously to reduce the bloc's dependence on Russian fossil fuels and combat the growing climate crisis "through energy savings, diversification of energy supplies, and accelerated roll-out of renewable energy to replace fossil fuels in homes, industry and power generation."

Under the proposed legislation, up to €200 billion in credits will be disbursed to individual Member States, with at least 35% of these funds "allocated to measures that have a multi-country dimension or effect."

At the press conference, MEP and legislative co-rapporteur Siegfried Mureșan noted that negotiations with the European Council on the proposed measures will start "immediately", with the aim of implementing them into EU law by the start of next year.

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