Brussels -- The priorities of European Commission president elect Jean-Claude Juncker for the newly-announced Commission threaten Europe’s climate and resource efficiency ambitions, says CEE Bankwatch Network. Particularly worrying from the perspective of CEE countries is an apparent shift in the vision of Regional Policy from making the European economy more sustainable, to “jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness” without any nod to green energy and resource efficiency.
In the letter, the ten leading environmental organisations in Europe express their grave concerns over the direction the EU seems to be taking with the new Commission. The structure of the new Commission, the mission letters, and the choice of Commissioners all reveal a serious downgrading of environment and a roll back of EU commitments to sustainable development, resource efficiency, air quality, biodiversity protection and climate action.
Campaigners across Europe are urging the European Commission and their Ministers of Finance to halt a dangerous slide towards secrecy of the giant European Investment Bank (EIB), of which the EU member states are owners.
People in the Submaidane-Turceni area in Romania live their lives in coal ash that still hasn’t been cleaned up after an accident that took place in December 2013 at an ash deposit belonging to the Oltenia Energy Complex in Turceni.
The renewables capacity installed in Romania has grown tenfold in the last five years and constitutes 23 percent of Romania's installed energy capacity. Still, the government is pushing for new lignite-fired power plants.
This weekend, over 7.500 people came together to form a human chain between Poland and Germany, in opposition to the expansion of lignite mines in the border area. The action, which was organised by Greenpeace with help from other NGOs across Germany and Poland, was meant to show solidarity with villagers in the south-west of Poland and south-east of Germany whose homes and livelihoods are to be destroyed if plans to expand coal mines by PGE in Poland and Vattenfal in Germany are to go ahead.
In Bankwatch Mail 60 we take a look at how the new Member States spending plans for EU funds are shaping up. Besides some signs of hope, we find still a notable lack of long-term sustainable strategies of central and eastern European countries.
And while former British prime minister Tony Blair's new advisory role for a consortium led by oil and gas giant BP is drawing criticism, the European Investment Bank has a real chance to champion EU climate policy - if it follows a few sensible suggestions.
EU member states and the European Commission, after what has felt like a marathon two-year process, are now engaged in finalising agreements on the EU’s Structural and Cohesion Funds (ESIF) investment strategies and spending plans for the 2014 -2020 EU budget period.
Where the 11 'new' member states of central and eastern Europe (CEE) are concerned, their approach to economic and societal development via the EU funds is proving to be a double-edged sword: while their spending plans for climate action is set to increase ten-fold in comparison to the 2007-2013 period, and the 'greenest Cohesion Policy legislation ever' prevents them from committing major environmental crimes, a reasonable long-term investment strategy, and financing, to achieve the decarbonisation of these economies by 2050 is noticeably lacking.
The European Investment Bank, the biggest multilateral public bank in the world by lending volume and the self-styled 'EU bank', has recently announced that it will be reviewing its approach to climate change in the coming months. According to comments made by EIB vice-president Philippe de Fontaine Vive to civil society representatives, “The EIB wants to position itself between this October's anticipated EU 2030 climate agreement and the Paris COP 21 meeting in December 2015”.