Brussels, 9 November 2022 – A European Commission plan to reestablish strict fiscal rules for EU countries would hamper measures to lift people out of energy poverty and ensure energy security with a renewable energy transition, warned Greenpeace.

The Commission’s communication released today would force eurozone governments to return to austerity by reducing spending to limit their annual budget deficits to 3% of GDP and to cap public debt to 60% of GDP. According to the paper, governments would have to show they are on track to cut spending and deficits within four to seven years, but reaching the target thresholds could mean decades of austerity in some EU countries.

Despite mentioning the green transition and the need to address Europe’s energy crisis, the Commission fails to explain how fiscal reform will encourage governments to boost so-called ‘green spending’, while simultaneously cutting public spending.

Greenpeace EU economics adviser Markus Trilling said: “There’s no good timing for austerity, but forcing governments to cut back in the midst of a climate emergency and cost of living crisis is just reckless ideology. People need to know that governments can do what’s necessary to keep them safe. An arbitrary and self-imposed return to austerity would slow down efforts to insulate homes, roll out renewables and end Europe’s reliance on fossil fuels, while polluters continue to rake in unprecedented profits.”

The European Commission is expected to release a final proposal for EU fiscal reform in early 2023, before agreeing final measures with governments later in the year.

Greenpeace has joined over 170 NGOs, trade unions, think tanks and economists in calling for an EU fiscal policy that supports a green transition and social justice under the European Green Deal.


Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]

Greenpeace EU economics adviser Markus Trilling: +32 (0)479 601289, [email protected]

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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. We do not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties. Greenpeace has over three million supporters, and 26 independent national and regional organisations with offices in more than 55 countries.

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