Heads of government from the 27 EU member states massively scaled back funding for the "Just Transition Fund" in a four-day marathon that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described as "an emotional roller coaster".
The fund to help Member States accelerate the transition to climate neutrality appears to be the real victim of the compromise reached. The Financial Times reports that the bottom it will only have 10 billion euros.
The previous proposals were on a very different set of ideas. A massive € 30-40 billion, a more acceptable sum for eastern European energy transition laggards such as Poland who say they need more EU assistance due to its high dependence on coal and lignite.
The Just Transition Fund is part of the EU's planned Green Deal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Only countries that have joined the climate neutrality goal by 2050 will be able to benefit from funding that, for now, would exclude Poland.
The EU highlights wind, solar and hydrogen in its € 750 billion recovery plan.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted in April that the EU's massive recovery fund should be linked to protecting the climate, a clause now very weakened given the new entity of the Just Transition Fund.
The EU's 19 billion euro post-Covid-750 stimulus package summit and over 1 trillion euro budget 2021-2027 have been on the verge of bankruptcy several times. The stalemate was determined by the demands of the "four frugal countries" Austria, Holland, Sweden and Denmark to reject the amount of money to be allocated in grants, compared to that to be allocated in loans.
“We are aware that this is a historic moment in Europe,” von der Leyen said after nearly 100 hours of tense negotiations. “This is a roller coaster of emotions,” he said, adding that the moment of success was breathtaking.