As countries around Europe strive in the first weeks of the year to conclude spending plans that will guide how they deploy billions of EU funds for the 2014-2020 budgetary period, last week saw a welcome move in Poland with the shelving of a controversial airport proposal that had been in line for EU support.
With only a few weeks to go now until final crucial decisions are taken that will determine Hungary's EU spending plans for the next seven years, Bankwatch's Hungarian member group MTVSZ decided last week that it was about time the Hungarian government got its house in order when it comes to beneficial EU allocations for cutting domestic energy bills, stimulating the Hungarian economy and fighting climate change.
With less than three months to go until the 2014-2020 EU budgetary period gets underway, a Bulgarian Partnership Agreement is being discussed with the European Commission – but the less said about it the better. In the spirit, though, of a country where a shake of the head means ‘Yes’, we have chosen to spill the beans at some length on where familiar mistakes are being taken, and where they may lead.
A new law that will redraw the Czech Republic’s approach to renewable energy is suspected to bring the development of the Czech renewables sector to a standstill and instead provide a boost for the country's fossil fuel sector.
There is a big long list of technical jargon attached to the programming documents of the EU funds for the 2014-2020 funding period – enough to fill an entire blog post on its own. But you will be relieved to read that, in the context of Latvia’s ongoing negotiations as to how we will spend our future EU budget money, I will focus on only one of these items. It may be a bit of a mouthful, but it is what it says it is – only in Latvia, as environmental NGOs are discovering, what should be a safeguard for the environment appears to have gone missing.
With today’s approval of the watered down proposals to reform EU Structural Funds in the European Parliament’s committee for regional development (see our press release), EU decision makers have taken a step away from ambitious environmental spending in the future Cohesion Policy. At the same time also national level allocation of the 2014-2020 funds is starting to take shape. But efforts to get the funds working sustainably for, and on behalf of, needy local communities are being thwarted in Slovakia - for a range of all too familiar reasons.
So far the planning for Latvia’s use of the EU funds for the 2014-2020 period has been a reasonably positive experience from a partnership perspective. Yet the process that has, until recently, been notable for its transparency and high level of public participation is now in danger of being derailed.
While the EU's future common agricultural policy is taking shape in Brussels, it’s not just there that major agri-business interests are flexing their muscles to take the ‘green-ness’ out of EU agricultural spending.