Recovery and Resilience Facility as effective tool to provide secure and green energy
Support for vulnerable households, SMEs and micro-enterprises
New rules would cover measures starting from 1 February 2022 onwards
MEPs agreed on the inclusion of REPowerEU measures in national recovery plans to support independence from Russian fossil fuels and accelerate the green transition.
According to the text adopted in plenary on Thursday with 471 votes to 90 and 53 abstentions, EU countries that submit an amended recovery and resilience plan after the entry into force of this proposal will be required to include measures to save energy, produce clean energy and diversify energy supplies, as foreseen in the EU’s REPowerEU plan.
Boost independence and fight energy poverty
MEPs amended the original Commission proposal to better target the measures set out in REPowerEU chapters to reduce energy vulnerabilities in the EU. The new rules would cover measures starting from 1 February 2022 onwards.
Measures included in the RePowerEU chapters should prioritise investments to tackle energy poverty for vulnerable households, SMEs and micro-enterprises.
MEPs want an additional EUR 20 billion in grants, proposed by the Commission, to come from an earlier auctioning of national emission allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, instead of using allowances from the EU’s Market Stability Reserve. They also want the Commission to identify additional sources of money to complement the financing of REPowerEU actions, including by allowing for flexibility in the use of unspent funds, particularly left-over funding from the 2014-2020 budget cycle.
These additional grants would be distributed to member states taking into account their energy dependency rate, the increase of energy-related costs for households and the share of fossil fuels in gross inland energy consumption.
Member states should take into account the input from regional authorities, NGOs and social partners when implementing the new measures.
Cross border measures and climate
MEPs call on EU countries to ensure that at least 35% of their spending under REPowerEU chapters is allocated to measures that have a multi-country dimension or effect, even if carried out by one EU country, and unless the Commission grants a derogation under specific circumstances.
They agreed that the “do no significant harm” principle should apply to the REPowerEU chapters, unless certain conditions are met and only for measures in operation by 31 December 2024.
President of the EP Roberta Metsola said: “Today’s vote shows that we are ready to use every single possible euro in our common EU funds to help member states to tackle the energy crisis”.
Siegfried MUREŞAN (EPP, RO), co-rapporteur, said: “Energy bills have sharply increased, which is incredibly damaging for the most vulnerable citizens and companies. Our energy independence and security is paramount to overcome this crisis. The “REPowerEU” plan will help us achieve this goal. Parliament’s position is clear: we want to move away from depending on Russian fossil fuels, and invest in renewables and clean energy sources. This is also the reason why the Parliament insists on projects with real EU added value, such as cross-border projects.”
Eider GARDIAZABAL RUBIAL (S&D, ES), co-rapporteur, said: “To support citizens after the pandemic, we sent a clear message with NextGenerationEU funds. But just when we thought the worst was over, Putin invaded Ukraine and provoked a geopolitical, humanitarian, food, energy and inflationary crisis to which we had to respond through different instruments. One of them is REPowerEU. Our report has improved the Commission’s proposal- by strengthening the fight against energy poverty and supporting the most vulnerable households, increasing the role of local authorities, boosting cross-border cooperation and reinforcing the ‘Do No Significant Harm’ principle to protect the environment.”
Dragoș PÎSLARU (Renew, RO), co-rapporteur, said: “Today, we are providing our citizens with the tools to cope this winter, with projects that will make us less dependent on Russian fossil fuels. We are investing in our continent to make it more sustainable and green for the next generations. Guided by the principle of solidarity, we delivered the Recovery and Resilience Facility two years ago. Now, we are complementing this work with REPowerEU, allowing governments to improve their recovery plans by investing in more energy efficiency, in tackling energy poverty and in green energy resources.”
The plenary vote constitutes the negotiating mandate for the upcoming talks with EU governments.