This week started with a successful pledging event hosted by the EU. The fundraiser gathered €7.4 billion for vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for the corona pandemic. Some 60 governments, international organisations and NGO's made donations. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the event a kickstart to unprecedented global cooperation. "The partners are many, the goal is one: to defeat this virus."
Earlier, when talking about the economic recovery plan, von der Leyen issued an important warning: "We should not fool ourselves. We may be getting a better grip on the corona virus, but we are not getting a grip yet on climate change. The warming of our planet continues. And it will warm even more if we continue to burn fossil fuels."
As we start to rebuild our economies after the coronavirus, we need to invest in smartly. Our compass will remain the #EUGreenDeal, which can transform our economies and societies to confront climate change. For the future of our planet and our children. #GreenRecovery? pic.twitter.com/nNmPaGqxfU— Ursula von der Leyen #UnitedAgainstCoronavirus (@vonderleyen) April 28, 2020
Indeed, curing the virus is one huge thing, preventing this disaster from happening again is another, which will require curing our economic ills. The economic recovery needs an economic rebuilding. And this rebuilding should be along the lines of the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan.
Ms von der Leyen puts it as follows in her video statement: “As we now plan to slowly go back to work and to invest billions of euros to restart our economy, we should avoid falling back in old, polluting habits. Instead, we should bounce back better from this pandemic. We can make our society and our planet healthier by investing in renewable energy, by driving clean cars, by renovating our houses and making them energy efficient. By buying sustainable food, reusing materials rather than throwing them away or producing low carbon steel.“
"This is the essence of the European Green Deal,” continues the Commission president, "The european green deal is an agenda for transforming our economy to make it more competitive and improve our quality of life. We will now also make it our motor for the recovery. By using the European Green as our compass, we can turn the crisis of this pandemic into an opportunity to rebuild our economies differently and make them more resilient. So that we also leave a better place for our children. With the Green Recovery we will come out of the crisis stronger and healthier.
We are launching today at my initiative the European alliance for a green recovery with 180 ministers, MEPs, CEOs, NGOs & Trade Unions. We will come out of this historic crisis stronger : https://t.co/A3ArY0N3Zy#greenrecovery #Covid-19 https://t.co/GtCYIZwfim— Pascal Canfin (@pcanfin) April 14, 2020
The statement of Commission President von der Leyen echoes the call for mobilisation by the European alliance for a Green Recovery. This alliance, an initiative of Pascal Canfin, Chair of the Environment Committee at the European Parliament, gathers 180 political decision-makers, business leaders, trade unions, NGOs, and think tanks, commits to contribute to the post-crisis investment decisions needed to reboot and reboost the economy. In their call, they advocate for a new European economic model: more resilient, more protective, more sovereign and more inclusive.