Debate on greener EU budget gets underway
24 April 2012, ENDS Europe
One of the MEPs leading debate on the environmental earmarking of EU funds in the next budget will outline her views in the parliament’s environment committee in early May. Rapporteur Jutta Haug issued three working documents last week.
Ms Haug supports the approach taken by the European Commission in its proposal for LIFE environmental funding for 2014-20. But because it only represents 0.3% of the EU budget, she stresses LIFE will be far from sufficient to help European economies move towards a low carbon future.
Greening the entire EU budget, a commitment made by the commission, will be crucial to achieve this, she adds. But the MEP points out that tacking green spending is not an easy task and asks if measures have been taken to avoid past difficulties.
Ms Haug also wants to know what can be done to make sure the Natura 2000 network of protected sites and, more generally, EU biodiversity policy are properly financed.
The German MEP does not yet seem to have a position on the commission’s proposal to allocate at least 80% of regional funds for the most developed areas to energy efficiency, renewables, innovation and small and medium-size companies. In poorer regions, half of the funds would go towards these four areas.
However, ENDS understands regional development committee rapporteur Angela Krehl supports it in principle. But she wants some flexibility in the 80/50 split, and has some reservations over a pledge to allocate 20% of EU funds to climate projects.
Like Ms Haug, Angela Krehl has not yet issued detailed recommendations. Her proposals will concentrate on plans to reform cohesion funds, which will be debated by EU general affairs ministers on Tuesday in Luxembourg.
According to green groups CEE Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth, member states are opposed to the earmarking of some cohesion funds for low-carbon projects.
In a new analysis of EU budget proposals issued ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, the Institute for European Environment Policy (IEEP) found that the EU currently falls short of the commitment to spend 20% of funds on climate-related projects.
Working documents published by Jutta Haug