Gap to produce sufficient numbers of EVs to comply with the law in 2020
  • Ministers want to ring fence €7bn of EU funding for clean transport

    Transport and energy ministers today backed plans to spend €7 billion of the EU’s transport infrastructure budget on more sustainable projects like electric vehicle re-charging points and upgrades to rail signalling. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomed the ministers’ earmarking of part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the period 2021-2027.

    However, T&E said that the European Parliament – which will soon vote on its position – must restore the ambition of the European Commission’s original proposal, which would see €10 billion (40%) invested in more sustainable and safer transport. This funding would be topped up by member states.

    Today ministers said they want poorer countries in receipt of cohesion funds to be required to spend just 15% of their CEF allocation on sustainable mobility, while other countries would still need to spend 40% on it. This means that the Council proposal would bring down the ‘sustainable budget’ from €10 billion to just under €7 billion.

    Sam Kenny, freight policy officer at T&E, said: “Today ministers supported the EU spending 40% of its budget on investment in sustainable transport. It’s the right decision and a clear signal to the European Parliament which now needs to reverse the transport and industry committees’ reckless decision to eliminate the greening of the EU’s transport budget.”

    Unfortunately, following the Commission’s lead, ministers also said fossil gas used for transport should be considered 100% climate financing as it falls under the definition of ‘alternative fuels’. This is despite gas vehicles having no meaningful air quality or climate benefits compared to conventional vehicles. [1] T&E said the full parliament now has the opportunity to ensure EU funds are only spent on projects that will make transport more accessible, sustainable and safe.

    Sam Kenny concluded: “There is no place for natural gas in a fund designed to put transport on a pathway to zero emissions. It’s a waste of limited public funds that risks locking us into fossil fuels with no benefits for air quality or the climate. MEPs should reject these gas-greenwashing amendments and focus the money on genuinely zero-emission solutions.”

    The European Parliament may vote on its CEF position in plenary as early as next week. Last month the parliament’s industry and transport committees voted against any earmarking of funds for sustainable transport projects whatsoever.

    Note to editors:

    [1] Natural gas-powered vehicles and ships – the facts (2018), T&E.