EU states push back on green finance rules in public spending

EU states push back on green finance rules in public spending

The European Union’s planned rulebook for green investments faced fresh pushback this week, with Greece, Cyprus and five other countries questioning its use in public spending, while green groups sought to delay approval of the rules.

The EU in April published the first part of its sustainable finance “taxonomy,” a list of economic activities and the detailed climate-related criteria they must meet to be labeled as a green investment.

From 2022, providers of financial products must disclose which investments comply, to help make truly green ones more visible and attractive to investors.

Brussels also plans to use the rules to prevent climate-damaging projects receiving support from the EU’s 672.5-billion-euro Covid-19 recovery fund – a move supported by the bloc’s advisers and some EU lawmakers.

A group of seven EU states have cautioned against that plan, in a paper seen by Reuters.

“The taxonomy should be applied only as a transparency tool. However, the taxonomy is progressively becoming a new standard for the EU policies,” said the paper, led by the Czech Republic and supported by Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

The paper said the Commission and EU countries should discuss the “limitations” of using the taxonomy to guide public financing. EU environment ministers will discuss it on Thursday.

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