European politicians, companies and activists have called for green investments to restart growth after the coronavirus pandemic, saying that fighting climate change and promoting biodiversity would rebuild stronger economies.
The European Union is heading into a strong recession brought on by the outbreak, but divided on how to finance the economic recovery, and the ailing south advocates joint debt issuance against opposition from the fiscally conservative north.
Reuters reported that EU leaders will meet next week to discuss the recovery plan, a group of 180 political decision makers, business leaders, unions, campaign groups and think tanks urged the bloc to adopt green stimulus measures. . "After the crisis, it will be time to rebuild," they said in a letter.
"The transition to a climate neutral economy, the protection of biodiversity and the transformation of agri-food systems have the potential to rapidly generate jobs, growth and contribute to the construction of more resilient societies," they added.
Signatories included ministers from 10 countries from Italy to Luxembourg, 79 EU politicians and CEOs from Jean-Paul Agon of L'Oreal to Jesper Brodin of IKEA and Emmanuel Faber of Danone.
Calling the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic a shock worse than the financial crisis of 2008, the signatories said rescue measures should advance the EU Green Deal policy package, which aims to bring the bloc of 27 nations to net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Calls for an EU green recovery have increased in recent days, after European finance ministers agreed to support for their coronavirus-hit economies but left open the question of how to finance the bloc's recovery.
Ten EU countries, along with Germany, France and Greece over the weekend, have signed a separate open letter urging the EU to ensure its rescue package supports the Green Deal.
Poland and the Czech Republic are among the countries calling on the EU to ease climate policies amid the pandemic.
Some asset managers also call on governments to design economic rescue packages to accelerate a low-carbon transition.
"Investors are definitely getting bolder by now wanting to push the post-COVID reconstruction debate toward broader sustainability and resilience," said Michael Hugman, portfolio manager at Asset Manager NinetyOne in London.
Pascal Canfin, a liberal French EU politician who initiated the last letter, said: “The COVID-19 crisis did not make the climate crisis disappear” and sentenced: “If we relaunch the economy in the wrong direction, we will hit the wall of the crisis climatic ”.