Press Briefing for European Summit 22-23rd November: How to ensure strong green spending runs throughout the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020
This week’s European Council will be crucial for ensuring that the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 (MFF) mobilises sustainable investments that can create millions of jobs and take Europe forward on a solid footing out of the crisis. The current overall MFF proposal is far from green: it is a lost opportunity. There is a lot of room to shift MFF allocations towards better spending and to relocate funds to greener sectors. Therefore we wish to draw your attention to five key issues for the Council that could substantially increase the chances of the next MFF delivering multiple benefits.
20 November 2012
This week’s European Council will be crucial for ensuring that the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 (MFF) mobilises sustainable investments that can create millions of jobs and take Europe forward on a solid footing out of the crisis. Environment NGOs – Birdlife Europe, Conservation International Europe, CEE Bankwatch Network, European Environment Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Transport & Environment and WWF – are campaigning for future EU funds to bring more environmental benefits and public goods, deliver on jobs and economic opportunities, cut harmful subsidies and achieve European 2020 and 2050 climate, energy and environmental targets.
Ensuring that funds are better spent is therefore our main priority. The current overall MFF proposal is far from green: it is a lost opportunity. There is a lot of room to shift MFF allocations towards better spending and to relocate funds to greener sectors. Therefore we wish to draw your attention to five key issues for the Council that could substantially increase the chances of the next MFF delivering multiple benefits:
1. Climate action: Ensure that 25% of the next MFF supports climate action
The European Commission introduced a 20% MFF support for climate action, endorsed by the Parliament and recently too by President of the European Council, Mr Van Rompuy. We are asking for 25%, a minimum for incentivising an eco-innovative economy based on renewables in Europe. It will help Europe to create new quality jobs, improve the well-being of EU citizens and achieve near decarbonisation by 2050.
2. Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): Ensure the delivery of public benefits
Increasing the long term sustainability of the farming sector is essential for preserving environmental public goods and for job creation in rural areas – achievable through mandatory greening of direct payments and a strong Rural Development pillar. We consider that half of total CAP funds should be allocated to Rural Development, of which at least 50% should be earmarked for the environment. In addition, a minimum 30% of direct payments should support a greening package of meaningful agricultural practices at the farm level linked to the basic payments.
However, the proposal of the President of the European Council, Mr van Rompuy, fails to rebalance the allocations between the two pillars – it may very likely be the opposite.
3. Cohesion Policy and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF): Put sustainability at the heart of regional development and infrastructure investments
In order to deliver on Europe 2020 objectives as well as 2050 climate and environmental objectives, Cohesion Policy and the CEF should aim at reducing – not increasing – energy and resource consumption in order to create sustainable and secure jobs and boost economic opportunities.
Prioritised support for energy savings, renewable energy and clean transport projects should be accompanied by the prevention of any harmful social and environmental impacts. For this purpose environmental safeguard mechanisms (‘climate and biodiversity proofing’) throughout the whole programming cycle need to be applied.
4. Ensure that LIFE (Environment and Climate fund) receives 1% of the next MFF
The Parliament is asking for LIFE to be strengthened. A modest 1% of the MFF for this successful fund will strongly contribute to achieving the EU target to halt biodiversity loss by 2020 through innovative environmental projects.
5. Europe’s external dimension: important international commitments that are being forgotten
The European Commission’s proposal for an increased Heading 4 is a bare minimum, as underlined by the Parliament. It should be maintained, and not cut, to allow Europe to deliver on its international development, climate and biodiversity commitments. President van Rompuy’s proposal does not satisfy this and threatens EU’s credibility at the global stage.
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