* Czech Republic and Bulgaria among states warning against use of rulebook
* The taxonomy aims to stimulate green private investments
* Commission wants rules to guide COVID-19 recovery money
By Kate Abnett and Simon Jessop
BRUSSELS, June 8 (Reuters) – The EU’s planned green investment regulation was set back again this week, with seven countries questioning its use in public spending, while green groups sought to delay approval of the rules.
The EU published in April the first part of its “taxonomy” of sustainable finance, a list of economic activities and the detailed climate-related criteria they must meet to be labeled as green investment.
From 2022, providers of financial products must disclose which investments are compliant, in order to make truly green investments more visible and attractive to investors.
Brussels also plans to use the rules to prevent climate-damaging projects from receiving support from the EU’s € 672.5 billion ($ 820 billion) COVID-19 stimulus fund – a move backed by EU advisers and some EU legislators.
A group of seven EU states warned against the plan, in a document viewed by Reuters.
“Taxonomy should only be applied as a tool for transparency. However, taxonomy is gradually becoming a new standard for EU policies,” said the document, led by the Czech Republic and supported by Bulgaria. , Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
The document said the Commission and EU countries should discuss the “limits” of using taxonomy to guide public funding. European environment ministers will discuss it on Thursday.
The taxonomy rules released in April cover activities such as wind and solar power, transportation, and manufacturing.
However, the Commission has postponed until later this year a decision on whether to award a green label to natural gas. Nuclear power is also assessed separately.
EU countries are divided on the two issues. Generally wealthier Western states say encouraging investment in gas, a fossil fuel, would undermine the EU’s climate goals.
Countries in central and eastern Europe say there is a need to help them move away from coal, which emits more CO2 when burned in power plants.
Campaigners say the taxonomy rules for bioenergy investments are also too weak, and urge the European Parliament not to approve the rules until they are revised and decisions are made on gas and nuclear.
A majority of legislators in the EU or in EU countries could veto taxonomy.
“We ask you to stay your judgment on the law until the details of the next two sets of criteria and amendments to bioenergy and forestry legislation are revealed,” wrote about 90 campaign groups and consumer organizations. in a letter due to be sent to lawmakers on Thursday.
($ 1 = 0.8204 euros) (Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by Jason Neely)
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