Ahead of discussions this week about how the next one trillion euros EU budget will be spent, EU ministers are being urged to get rid of provisions that would allow public money to subsidise the fossil fuels industry.
The open letter  endorsed by more than 20 leading environment groups comes in response to the draft negotiating text for Tuesday’s General Affairs Council. At this meeting EU Members States will make decisions on the investment priorities under the next 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy funds , building on a proposal prepared by the European Commission last year .
The groups have concerns that two provisions within the regulation on the European Regional Development Fund  will pave the way for projects involving oil, gas and even coal or carbon-intensive technologies like carbon capture and storage and the exploitation of shale gas . A significant portion of these funds has previously been earmarked under the Commission’s proposal for measures to decarbonise the European economy and contribute to achieving long-term EU climate objectives.
Markus Trilling, EU funds campaigner for CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe said, “We can’t afford to let subsidies for fossil fuels slip in the back door, nor can we afford investments that will lock us in to carbon-intensive energy systems and maintain our dependency on fossil fuels for decades. Instead, the EU budget should invest in energy savings and shift our energy systems towards renewables.”
Notes Read the open letter here.  According to European Commissions proposal Cohesion Policy funds for the period 2014-2020 will account for EUR 336 bln of the next seven-year, EUR 1025 bln multiannual financial framework, the EU budget  Read more about the European Commission’s proposals for the next EU budget published last year http://bankwatch.org/checklist-eu-cohesion-policy  The European Regional Development Fund is one of the main regional funds within the EU budget, aimed at decreasing disparities among European regions. http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/thefunds/regional/index_en.cfm  The two provisions read as follow “developing smart gas and power distribution, storage and transmission systems” and “promoting the use of high-efficiency co-generation of heat and power.”