A summit in Brussels on the EU budget for 2014-2020
concluded today with an unambitious commitment for 20 percent of EU spending to
go towards tackling climate change. CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the
Earth Europe called on member states' governments to build on this with
national spending plans that ensure quality outcomes that work for Europe's people and environment.
The final deal agreed by the European Council sees a €959
billion budget for the next seven years. This represents a reduction of €89
billion from the European Commission's initial proposal, and is €16 billion
below the current 2007–2013 budgetary period total. The 20 percent climate
action figure was also proposed by the European Commission.
Markus Trilling, EU Funds coordinator for CEE
Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "What we are seeing is peanuts for climate, with
disappointing cuts likely to the environmental investment fund Life, as well as
the Connecting Europe Facility. This will likely reduce investments into
necessary green energy infrastructure such as smart grids.
"However, there is a lot still to play for. Member
states need to put quality at the heart of their spending plans for 2014–2020,
to open the door for investments into energy savings and renewables, green
innovation, resource efficiency and sustainable transport. Quality spending at
the national level can bring environmental and economic benefits and help bring
Europe out of crisis."
Trilling also warned about using EU budget money to
support the fossil fuels sector: "Member
states must avoid damaging spending, including subsidies for fossil fuels, in
their national-level spending plans. Investments into gas infrastructure
promote fossil fuel use and will simply lock European economies into carbon
dependency for decades to come."
1. The relevant text from the final EU budget 2014–2020
"Climate action objectives will represent at least 20%
of EU spending in the period 2014-2020 and therefore be reflected in the
appropriate instruments to ensure that they contribute to strengthen energy
security , building a low-carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient
economy that will enhance Europe's competitiveness and create more and greener
jobs." (Paragraph 10)
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