© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Scholz gives a press conference in Berlin.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will spend 90% of the € 28 billion ($ 34 billion) it expects from the European Union’s € 750 billion recovery fund on climate protection and digitization, far exceeding the requirements of the EU, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday. “Today is a good day for Europe … Now we can act together for a strong, supportive and future-proof Europe,” Scholz said as Germany and France presented their plans for the money. The EU recovery fund was agreed last year to reactivate the bloc’s economy, badly affected by COVID-19. It is also intended to advance the EU’s long-term goals of reducing net CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 and gaining a slice of the digital economy, now dominated by US tech giants like Google (NASDAQ :), Amazon (NASDAQ 🙂 or Facebook (NASDAQ :). EU rules require 37% of the money to be spent on fighting climate change and 20% on digitizing the economy. Scholz said Berlin aims to spend € 11.5 billion on helping companies switch to hydrogen as an energy source, on incentives to buy electric cars, buses and trains, and on renovating buildings to improve energy efficiency. More than € 14 billion is earmarked to facilitate digital change, for example to help the automotive industry convert its production processes and make the education, health and public administration sectors future-proof. . Scholz said Germany and France intend to lay the foundation for a European cloud infrastructure and promote European capabilities to build next-generation processor chips, areas in which the bloc is lagging. In the long term, the fund will result in an increase of around 2% in Germany’s GDP and a 0.5% increase in employment, Scholz said, citing the German Institute for Economic Research. France expects 41 billion euros from the recovery fund with the first 5 billion disbursed in September.