On 27 May, the European Commission published the revised Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Recovery Plan (Next Generation EU). The MFF is the EU budget for the next seven years (2021-2027) with a budget of €1,100bn, whereas the recovery plan runs from 2021–2024 and has a budget of €750bn.
It is unclear which funds the aviation industry can have access to, particularly within the Clean Mobility subsection, leading to the risk that the industry will not be eligible to use any of the MFF and recovery funds. The subsection makes a reference to:
- Doubling EU investment on electric car recharging infrastructure, with the objective of reaching 2 million public charging and alternative refuelling stations by 2025. The communication only cited an increase of 1m charging points.
- An EU-wide Purchasing Facility for Clean Vehicles, that reduce CO2 and pollutant emissions in line with EU standards. Amount: €20 billion in the next two years.
- A Clean Automotive Investment Fund to accelerate the investments in zero-emission drive trains. Amount: €40-60 billion.
It could be that aviation might be eligible under the second option to purchase 'clean vehicles'”, this is however uncertain.
On 8 June, Henrik Hololei from DG MOVE, exchanged views with the European Parliament on the transport aspects of the MFF and EU Recovery Plan. The meeting was chaired by MEP Karima Delli (Greens) which highlighted the cuts of transport budget within the MFF.
Following the many questions asked by the MEPs on the topic, from the competitiveness of the EU sector due to the EU’s green ambitions to specific details of the different funds available.
For transport, Hololei mentioned some EU funds from which the sector could benefit. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is key and no ongoing projects would be penalised as a result of COVID-19 and its consequent delays. InvestEU and ReactEU could also contribute to the decarbonisation of transport alongside to the MFF and Recovery Plan. It is important to note, however, that it is up to the member states to allocate funds to the transport sector.
On aviation, the European Commission will look into ways to ramp up production of sustainable fuels via the ReFuelEU Aviation initiative. A question was raised regarding the support to pilots that were negatively impacted by the pandemic and Hololei mentioned that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund could support these pilots.
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