MEPs reject plans for fossil fuel subsidies

MEPs sitting on the regional development committee have rejected a proposal that would have allowed public subsidies to be spent on fossil fuel infrastructure projects under the European Regional and Development Fund.

The rejection came as part of the Regional Development Committee of the European Parliament’s vote yesterday on the proposed Cohesion Policy report. The report will decide on how to divide up a budget of €366 billion intended to build regions, provide transport solutions, renewable energy and structural reform.

Markus Trilling from the CEE Bankwatch Network said: “we applaud members of the regional development committee for today’s clear signal that fossil fuel subsidies have no place in the EU’s regional development funding.”

“MEPs have made their pro-climate intentions for the forthcoming EU budget negotiations clear, and they must insist that member states drop any plans to lump fossil fuels back into EU funding pots destined for energy efficiency and renewable energy,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Committee also strengthened European Commission proposals to channel 5% of regional development funds into renewable energy projects, saying this should be increased to 20% in developed regions and 12% in less developed regions.

Sébastian Godinot, chief economist at WWF, said he was pleased with the committee’s conclusions which were “clearly more ambitious” than the European Commission and Council of Ministers. The Cohesion Policy report must now be negotiated between the Parliament, Commission and Council before agreement is reached.

This is just a small step in the right direction against channeling more public money into fossil fuels. Some 80% of the total energy subsidies in the EU-15 are paid to fossil fuels and nuclear energy according to the European Environment Agency, while just 19% cost to renewables.

For every $1 of government support given to renewable energy around the world, at least $5 are given to fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency.

Zoë Casey,