The European Union is pledging to align its COVID-19 economic recovery strategy with the European Green Deal strategy in an historic plan for post-pandemic recovery, including an accelerated push to renewable energy.
The proposed recovery plan, Next Generation EU, includes investments to boost renewables and hydrogen infrastructure.
The European Commission says that the European Green Deal is a policy fundamental of the recovery.
“Relaunching the economy does not mean going back to the status quo before the crisis, but bouncing forward,” it said in a statement.
“We must repair the short-term damage from the crisis in a way that also invests in our long-term future. All of the money raised through Next Generation EU will be channelled through EU programmes in the revamped long-term EU budget.”
The European Green Deal as the EU’s recovery strategy:
- A massive renovation wave of buildings and infrastructure and a more circular economy, bringing local jobs;
- Rolling out renewable energy projects, especially wind, solar and kick-starting a clean hydrogen economy in Europe;
- Cleaner transport and logistics, including the installation of one million charging points for electric vehicles and a boost for rail travel and clean mobility in our cities and regions;
- Strengthening the Just Transition Fund to support re-skilling, helping businesses create new economic opportunities.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future: the European Green Deal and digitalisation will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment. This is Europe’s moment. Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing. With Next Generation EU we are providing an ambitious answer.”
Importantly, the plan will activate the demand for hydrogen in heavy industry.
Star Scientific Group – an Australian hydrogen technology innovator – Chairman Andrew Horvath said his company welcomes the EU’s proposal and its approach to tackling unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic.
“The proposed investment is ambitious and signals the critical role hydrogen will play in recovery,” Mr Horvath said.
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“It is very encouraging to see government demonstrating foresight and ambition, and we look to a focus on policies that support sensible regulation of the sector and investment in hydrogen infrastructure. This will secure energy independence and sustainability well into future.
“The Australian Government’s National Hydrogen Strategy, which has bipartisan support across all State Governments, is a good example of the policy thinking that investors in the hydrogen sector need.
“The time to act is now, to turn a challenge into an opportunity that supports economic recovery and invests in the future, creating jobs and, revitalising industry and potentially stranded assets.”
Read the full statement from the European commission here.