Comments on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan

The Green Tank submits to the public debate its comments on Greece’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

In the absence of a consultation framework, and after months of waiting and perpetual leaks of unconfirmed information, last week Greece’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) was published, before being submitted to the European Commission.

The Green Tank’s comments focus on the need to substantiate the proposed interventions, so as to ensure:

  • compliance with the “do no significant harm” principle to European environmental objectives, in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Regulation;
  • contribution of the NRRP to the green recovery and especially to the achievement of the climate objectives. The claim that 38% of the resources are committed, that is to say a higher than the minimum percentage (37%), is positive but weak, as it is not substantiated;
  • contribution of the NRRP to the latest European climate and biodiversity commitments. The National Plan must be designed taking into account the new European target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% and the new targets for the protection and restoration of biodiversity, for 2030;
  • horizontal integration of green transition support. The Plan shows that no green transformation is attempted in economy sectors, such as tourism, the agri-food sector and infrastructure, thus preventing important sectors of the Greek economy from contributing to the green recovery of the country;
  • coherence and complementarity with other national, sectoral or regional funding programmes.

With its more specific comments, the Green Tank raises concerns and submits specified proposals concerning the following:

  1. Energy savings and energy efficiency and the extent to which the proposed funding for related actions is compatible with the one promised by the National Plan for Energy and Climate (NECP).
  2. Energy storage projects and the need to also include emerging technological options and in particular green hydrogen electrolyzers, as well as the conversion of lignite power plants into thermal energy storage units.
  3. Carbon footprint reduction projects of energy-intensive industries, in order to correct the noted paradox that, despite the subsidies given to the energy-intensive industries (indirect CO2 compensation of electricity emissions and paid interruptability scheme), their carbon footprint remains very high.
  4. Carbon capture and storage technologies and the need to clarify that this action, which is paradoxically currently included in the transport axis, will not be combined with electricity generated from fossil fuels, perpetuating their use.
  5. Soil rehabilitation in the lignite areas, in order to clarify the way of estimating investments and especially the framework for financing the restoration of the remaining areas that are not included in the 60,000 acres to which the funding from the Recovery Fund refers.
  6. Just Transition of the lignite areas for which the resources of the Just Transition Development Programme have to be complemented by additional resources of the Recovery Fund.
  7. Spatial and urban planning actions, so that the contribution of funding from the NRRP ensures that the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, and the resilience and adaptation to climate change will be set as priorities in the implementation of these actions.
  8. Rate of funding for biodiversity conservation so that actions can be re-evaluated and the level of funding for nature conservation and restoration be increased.
  9. Nature restoration and the need for additional actions, apart from those of the reforestation programme, in collaboration with those relating to flood protection and civil protection.
  10.  Creating a brand for Greek nature, framing the conservation actions along with those concerning sustainable development within the protected areas, providing possibilities of further advancement and connection with tourism and the promotion of local products.

The resources of the European Recovery and Resilience Fund, along with those from the new Partnership Agreement 2021-2027 and the resources of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), give Greece the rare opportunity to finance the green transformation of its Greek economy, in line with the European Deal, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Greece must seize this opportunity.

Read in Greek the text (in Greek) with the detailed comments of the Green Tank, which was sent to the members of the Greek parliament who will participate in tomorrow’s joint briefing of three parliamentary committees.