The Recovery Fund is the largest stimulus package ever funded by the EU budget. It aims to help Member States address the consequences of the pandemic in line with climate ambitions. A condition set by the EU is that Member states must allocate 30 % of the funding to combating climate change. For Slovakia, this represents a budget of € 1900 million. According to the proposal of the Recovery and Resilience Plan introduced by Slovakia, the whole budget will go towards renewables and energy networks, green renovation of buildings, modernization of railways, and the decarbonisation of industry and alternative fuels.
While we appreciate the effort of the Ministry of Finance and other state institutions in preparing the document, during these challenging times a recovery plan should not only pay for buildings, networks, and cables but should also support increased resilience towards the negative effects of climate change, conservation of biodiversity, and the creation of conditions for sustainable mobility.
Thus, we are asking the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic and the relevant ministries to add the following thematic areas to the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Slovakia:
"Resilient and green landscape" — with the objective to increase resilience, reduce vulnerability, and support the adaptation of urban, forest and agricultural land to climate change.
"Development of bicycle transport" — with the objective to increase the share of bicycle traffic in the total transport work in cities and suburban areas of Slovakia.
For the "Renewable sources and energy networks" component — to add an activity aimed at preparing conditions for the creation of regional sustainable energy centres.
The implementation of these investments, linked to structural reforms, will have a multiplier and long-term effect from the economic perspective, as well as on the overall well-being of the population and quality of the environment. Their omission from the forthcoming Recovery and Resilience Plan of Slovakia would mean a wasted opportunity for our county, nature and people.