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Czech PM: Europe should forget about the Green Deal and focus on coronavirus

Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš urged Europe to abandon the objectives of its landmark agreement to reach the continent’s climate neutrality. As reported by Reuters, according to Mr Babiš, European countries should focus their attention on coping with the epidemic crisis instead.

Last year the European Commission unveiled the European Green Deal, mobilising around one trillion euros in the framework of a ten-year plan to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50 per cent compared with 1990. Earlier this month the Commission made a proposal for the European Climate Law, a new legislation that would bind member states to the target of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

However, the Czech Republic, alongside other Member States mainly from Central Europe, gave voice to its concerns. As Europe rapidly became the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, governments drew up stimulus plans to mitigate the hit of the virus on their economies.

As of today, the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic has reached 396 and the government has already declared the state of emergency, closing the country’s borders and restricting free movement.

The likely recession and economic slowdown caused by the virus outbreak has the potential to divert attention from the long-term objectives of a clean energy transition and also to disrupt entire value chains, thus adversely effecting investments in green technologies.

European Commission spokesperson, Eric Mamer, told reporters at a press briefing that “it was too early to make recommendations to the EU Member States at this stage about potential measures to prop up investments in clean technologies.”

“On renewables, this is definitely one dimension in a very complex situation that we are facing at the moment,” Mr Mamer added. “We will have to see as events unfold what analysis we can make of the impact on investments in various areas and how we can react.”

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