According to the European Commission’s head of competition, Margrethe Vestager, national governments in the union could be provided more aid for climate-friendly projects, provided the projects are in line with climate goals.
The so-called “green bonus” will incentive projects that benefit the environment. For example, a state funded building project that used recycled materials would be a potential qualifier.
In a statement, Vestager said, “We could think of giving a sort of ‘green bonus’, which allows governments to use more state aid for projects that make a genuine contribution to our green goals.”
She added, “We could also look at how to build on the success of competitive tenders in keeping renewable energy costs down, by seeing if we could extend that approach to other areas.”
At the same time, the move could mean projects that are harmful to the environment, such as polluting factories and power plants, could be refused state aid going forward.
This comes as EU countries have requested increases in the EU budget to deal with climate change. Last year, a joint statement from several governments asked for at least a quarter of the total budget to go towards green initiatives in order to reduce emissions and meet targets.
The European Commission has plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 55% by 2030. It says that this is essential, both for boosting economic growth, meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, and for creating a sustainable future.
In the coming weeks, consultations will begin to discuss how sustainability policies can work alongside competition rules ahead of next year’s conference.
“The time has come to launch a European debate on how EU competition policy can best support the Green Deal,” Vestager said, adding, though, that European competition policy “is not going to take the place of environmental laws or green investment”.
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