The EU has allocated a staggering €700 billion to a fund to help post-pandemic recovery. The money is earmarked, among other things, to support the member states' climate work. For Sweden, the equivalent of SEK 38 billion has been set aside – this is twice as much as Sweden's entire climate budget – and the government has previously announced that the money will go to, among other things, the so-called Climate Leap.
But SVT Nyheter's review shows that multi-billion sums risk being frozen. The money is conditional on Sweden fulfilling a plan that was signed between the previous government and the EU, but where the current government changed some of the policy.
"The support is "performance-based, it is only paid out when member states have achieved what they promised and committed to in their recovery plan," Veerle Nuyts, spokesperson for the European Commission, told SVT.
The reduction obligation is a "key measure"
Other countries have already started to receive money – but not Sweden. In Sweden's plan, there were investments in railways and valuable nature, which the current government slimmed down. Not least, the reduction obligation, which the Tidö parties want to reduce significantly, the EU Commission believes is a "key measure" for Sweden to achieve its climate goals. Several referral bodies – including the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency – have raised the risk that Sweden could lose billions.
The government itself writes in its memorandum on the reduction obligation that Sweden risks losing part of this money.
Milestones not met
Formally, a country can request changes to its plan, if promised measures are considered impossible to implement, or if measures are replaced with other reforms that produce the same result for the climate.
Sweden sent an update of the recovery plan at the end of August, but without mentioning reduced reduction obligations, or proposing alternatives. The EU Commission's spokesperson confirms to SVT that parts of the 38 billion will thus hardly be able to be paid out.
"If our assessment is that a country is not meeting milestones and targets it has committed itself to, the Commission may be able to make an interim payment, but the rest of the payments will be suspended," says Veerle Nuyts.