Over 700 people from all EU Member States launched a call on Tuesday for a European climate and employment pact involving a law, a bank and a budget.
The call comes two weeks before the European summit on the EU recovery plan on 19 June, as Europe gradually lifts restrictions linked to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Only a sustainable recovery would be able to meet the climate challenge with economic, social and environmental benefits, the signatories said in an open letter published in seven European newspapers including Le Soir.
The proposal for a recovery plan put forward by the European Commission a few days ago does not specify how the climate investment deficit will be made up, according to the signatories.
They see three solutions. The first would be a European climate law prohibiting all Member States from continuing to subsidise fossil fuels, which account for at least €112 billion a year.
This law should also ensure that all banks and insurance companies operating in Europe are transparent about their activities and organise the phasing out of investments in fossil fuels.
The second solution is a Climate and Biodiversity Bank providing interest-free loans via the European Central Bank (ECB). These loans could amount to up to 2% of Member States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or more than €300 billion per year at EU level until 2050.
Finally, they called for a 5% EU tax on the profits of large companies (adjusted for their carbon footprint), combined with other own resources, to raise €100 billion a year. This money would feed into a real European budget for climate and biodiversity subsidies.
The signatories include several young climate activists, artists, climatologists, economists, trade union and NGO leaders, business leaders, as well as celebrities such as Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, Pope Francis’ climate adviser and footballer Lilian Thuram.
They are supported by a host of elected representatives and political leaders from six major pan-European groups, including Belgian MEPs Frédérique Ries, Philippe Lamberts and Benoît Lutgen, ministers Jean-Luc Crucke and Alain Maron, and Paul Magnette.
The Brussels Times