Brussels, 24 June – CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) revealed today, on the twentieth anniversary of the EU’s Cohesion policy, that clean and efficient energy and transport investment projects continue to be denied sufficient priority attention in the EU-sponsored spending plans of the new member states (EU-10).
Since the group’s previous analysis in 2007 of the EU-10’s draft spending plans for the total EUR 177 billion of Structural and Cohesion funds to be disbursed to the new member states in the 2007-2013 period, the final European commission approved plans show an unambitious, marginal rise in funding for energy efficiency and renewables from 2.1 percent (2007) to 2.4 percent (2008) of total available funds. In the same time period, allocations for new roads and motorways in the EU-10 have jumped by EUR 5 billion. 
As alarm grows about declining oil supplies and soaring prices, and just one week after the European Environment Agency reported on growing greenhouse gas emissions in most of the new member states , today’s newly updated analysis shows that the opportunity to use the EU funds to curb carbon emissions in the new member states is being taken with a surprising lack of conviction by national governments.
Keti Medarova-Bergstrom, EU Funds coordinator for Bankwatch and FoEE, said: “The fight against climate change has never been higher on the EU’s agenda, and yet right under our noses we are seeing a massive preference for carbon-intensive investments in the new member states. From now until the mid-term spending review in 2009, the European commission must work to convince the new member states to substantially green their EU funded projects. By undertaking a rigorous climate footprint assessment of the euro billions now pouring into the EU-10, the commission could take an important step in helping to bring about a shift in the right direction.”
Anelia Stefanova, EU affairs coordinator for Bankwatch, said: “While we hear persistent griping from the new member states about the challenges of meeting EU targets on emissions reductions, energy efficiency and renewables, it’s staggering that there remains such reluctance to make the most of these EU billions and get the new member states onto a sustainable, low-carbon development path.”
“Despite our 2007 analysis of the draft EU-10 spending plans setting off alarm bells within the commission, the Czech Republic is the only new member state to have made any tangible increase in its energy efficiency and renewables allocations in the last year – and that’s with a fairly unspectacular increase of 1.5 percent. In Slovakia and Latvia, the share of EU funds earmarked for clean energy investments has even managed to fall in the last year.”
Keti Medarova-Bergstrom concluded: “EU funds are necessary and welcome in the EU-10 but they must promote economically justifiable and environmentally and climate protective projects. Earlier this year we mapped 50 highly questionable projects in the EU-10 which either have been financed or are planned to be financed from the EU funds in the transport, waste and water sectors. These projects should not be thought of in Brussels as projects in far away lands about which there is no information. Local communities and campaign groups across the region are documenting the problems attached to these investment plans, and if the commission is committed to abide by its own climate targets and environmental standards it must pay attention to these local voices and make sure that the EU funds are used accordingly.”
 Analysis of the allocations for energy efficiency, renewable energy and transport from the EU funds based on the final Operational Programs in the EU-10 approved by the European Commission, can be found at: http://bankwatch.org/documents/comparative_analysis_2008_EU_funds_allocations_renewables.pdf
Based on an assessment of the now approved EU funds spending plans – or Operational Programs (OPs) – in the EU-10, the Bankwatch-FoEE analysis reveals that only marginal progress in allocations for energy efficiency and renewable energy has been made since the groups’ 2007 analysis of EU-10 draft spending plans. In spite of being one of the 12 priority areas of the EU funds, the share for energy efficiency and renewable energy out of the total allocations earmarked for the EU-10 in 2007 was a mere 2.1 percent. The new analysis of the approved OPs in 2008 shows an unambitious, marginal increase, with energy efficiency and renewable energy now set to receive 2.4 percent of the total funds in the EU-10.
The NGOs’ analysis has identified a EUR 5 billion increase in planned spending on roads and motorways in the EU-10 since 2007. Within the EU funds allocations for the transport sector, this represents a jump from 53 percent to 55 percent for the carbon-intensive road sector, while the rail sector, despite receiving EUR 1 billion extra, sees its share of the EU funds for transport drop three percent to 27 percent. Allocations for public transport investment in the EU-10 have slightly increased by EUR 0.9 billion since 2007 but still constitute only ten percent of the total transport allocations.
The analysis from Bankwatch/FoEE in 2007 was based on the draft Operational Programs of the EU-10, while the current analysis is based on the commission approved OPs. For more information on the 2007 analysis, see: http://bankwatch.org/newsroom/release.shtml?x=1982987
 See: http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/eea-reports-on-progress-in-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reductions-in-2006
As outlined by the European Environment Agency, most of the countries in central and eastern Europe (namely Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovenia) experienced rising emissions between 2005 and 2006.