EU Cohesion Policy: EU Parliament vote on energy will only give limited support to a green economy

Posted on 10 July 2013    
Renewable energy recognised by WWF are wind, solar, small hydro and biomass.
© WWF / Michel GUNTHER
(Brussels, 10th July) Today the European Parliament’s Regional Affairs Committee voted to endorse an agreement made between the European, Commission and the Council of Ministers thatwill provide a higher concentration of Cohesion Funding to energy savings and clean energy investments. Cohesion funds are intended to support disadvantaged areas and develop local economies. 
WWF welcomes the introduction of mandatory earmarking of funding that will support the creation of a low carbon economy. Having this included this into the programing was a hard won battle for environmental NGOs given the opposition from some Member States. But the final level of commitment is low given this resistance and this will undermine the impact of the policy.
Quotes Sebastien Godinot, Economist, WWF European Policy Office
On fossil fuels and earmarking for renewables
“While the earmarking of funding for energy saving and renewable energy projects is a step forward, the mandatory level of investment is simply too low. In addition, it is still unclear if harmful subsidies for fossil fuels will be entirely phased out or not”.
A lack of support for biodiversity 
“WWF is disappointed with the lack of support for biodiversity; provisions for funding Natura 2000 or green infrastructures remain fully reliant on national programming. In these times of austerity there is a big risk that these types of investments are sacrificed despite their huge benefits for the society as a whole.”
More involvement from civil society

“The involvement of civil society organisations in programme selection and governance should be improved, however the true benefits will be limited because of systematic attacks from the council. The new European Code of Conduct which was initially aimed at creating minimum mandatory requirements for all Member State on how to implement the “Partnership principle” has been watered down to a mere list of good practices.”

Next steps
The next step is the programming phase where Member States will design Operational Programmes and precisely allocate funding – with the Commission validating each Operational Programme. 
WWF calls on Member States to programme the funds in such a way as to strongly contribute to the achievement of EU environmental targets by 2020, create green jobs and stop harmful subsidies. It also calls on the Commission to be stringent on environmental ex ante conditionalities, the proper involvement of all stakeholders, the need to support biodiversity and to phase out fossil fuels subsidies.
Editor’s Notes: WWF initial priority demands:
1. Support thematic concentration towards a low carbon economy and climate proofing of programmes;
2. Support measures for environmental protection and resource efficiency, including measures for protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services across all regions;
3. Improve result orientation of the Cohesion Policy through ex-ante conditions and an adequate performance framework based on targets and indicators;
4. Ensure strong partnerships through multi-level governance.
Contact: Philippe Carr,
Media & Communications, 
WWF European Policy Office,
Tel: +32 476 25 68 79
Renewable energy recognised by WWF are wind, solar, small hydro and biomass.
© WWF / Michel GUNTHER Enlarge

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