Labour demands Donohoe support for decade of green investment at Eurogroup meeting

17 January 2022

Labour Party Finance and Public Expenditure Spokesperson, Ged Nash, has today (Monday, 17th, January) called on the Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohoe, to articulate clear and committed support for a decade of green investment at a meeting of the Euro area finance ministers later today.

Speaking in advance of the Eurogroup meeting that is set to discuss changes to Europe’s fiscal rules, Deputy Nash said:

“The time for equivocation is over. The moving decade for climate change is here. Europe must invest in a clean and decarbonised future and do so at a pace that compensates for earlier failures. Changes to the EU fiscal rules straitjacket are vital if Ireland is to meet our housing, climate and infrastructural challenges.

“Minister Donohoe should unequivocally side with those at the European table who are arguing that changes are made to the fiscal rules that can facilitate such investment. There is no longer any meaningful distinction between fiscal and climate policy. As President of the Eurogroup, the Minister confers a particular responsibility for Ireland to show leadership in this area.

“These changes could be important in an Irish context. We have new ambitious targets – ambitious in the sense that they will be difficult to achieve rather than in any way exceeding the goals we have to achieve – and we require every policy tool to be available to us.

“While our Climate Action plan addresses the issues around climate mitigation, we also need to update our climate adaptation plan to prepare ourselves for already ‘baked in’ climate change to come, and the changes which are impacting on us already in the form of more extreme weather. Minister Donohoe has form supporting the so-called fiscally frugal Hanseatic League States. However, it is time for him to break with that past. Inadequate investment in tackling climate change is a false economy of monumental proportions.

He added:

“The position being adopted by Commissioner Hahn in this regard is untenable and Minister Donohoe needs to make clear that Ireland does not support it. Ireland should make common cause with the positions being adopted by the French Presidency of the EU and Italian government.”

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