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The Commission proposed that the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in the next EU budget would direct more investment towards infrastructure that reduces emissions, but the committees voted against this and watered down the criteria for the list of projects that could be considered to be climate friendly. The vote – if approved by a sitting of the full Parliament – would put gas infrastructure on an equal footing with zero-emission investments in both the transport and energy sectors.
Sam Kenny, freight officer at T&E, said: “Transport infrastructure in Europe is in dire need of clean investment. 25,000 people die in traffic collisions every year on European roads; air quality is appalling in most cities; and transport is our biggest climate problem. Today’s committee vote to shift investment away from the cleaner and safer infrastructure we need is very worrying and must be reversed by the full parliament.”
Astonishingly, the industry and transport committees also proposed that the budget could be spent on airports, which would expand the highest-emitting mode of transport. At a time when transport accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, T&E said it is imperative that the parliament in plenary session and EU governments ensure that CEF funds are invested in infrastructure that helps to clean up transport.
Sam Kenny concluded: “What we invest in after 2020 determines the future of transport. Investments should be made to clean up air, make transport safer, and improve access to zero-emission mobility for all Europeans. The EU can be a central player in building a better future. Now it’s up to all MEPs and Member States to fix this.”
In June the Commission also proposed that gas projects also be eligible for EU funding and be counted towards the climate spending goals – despite gas vehicles having no meaningful air quality or climate benefits compared to conventional vehicles.  T&E said the full parliament and EU governments now have the opportunity to ensure EU funds are only spent on projects that will make transport more accessible, sustainable, and safe.