To burn or not to burn? Waste and bridges

Press quote (Interfax)
20 May 2020

But interestingly, a few days ago, an article was released in London about how Covid-19 is transforming how the European Union works, by Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform. Despite the fact that the UK has left the EU, Grant remains one of the most informed and acute experts and he highlights the following as what he sees as undesirable trends for Europe: deglobalization, specifically the disruption of supply chains, not only for medical equipment but even auto components; the resurgent influence of national capitals aiming to counter Brussels; the strengthening of borders, not just the external border of the Schengen zone, but also the reimposition of controls on national borders between zone members amid increasing suspicion of foreigners; as well as growing divisions within the EU along North-South and East-West lines.


In the latter case, Grant points out that in the European elections in May 19, before any pandemic, the greens performed well overall but won few seats in Central and Eastern Europe. He notes the trend of “hostility to policies that are designed to moderate climate change,” and transition from ‘brown’ energy (based on oil and coal) to greener energy.

...In conclusion, let’s return to what Centre for European Reform Director Charles Grant wrote in his article about the new challenges facing the EU. “The economic consequences of the coronavirus seem likely to strengthen opposition to climate-friendly policies. Many voters whose standards of living are falling dramatically will not want to take a further hit by embracing radical measures designed to lessen climate change,” he wrote.


Grant also quoted French economist Jean Pisani-Ferry, who said: “Poorer citizens will likely be more reluctant to bear the cost of replacing obsolete ‘brown’ capital embedded in heating systems, cars and machines with greener but costly capital, because this would destroy even more of the old jobs and leave even less income available for short-term consumption.”