• Solutions to end harmful subsidies in EU Budget revealed in new report

    A new report launched today by seven green NGOs proposes concrete solutions to put an end to environmentally harmful subsidies within the EU Budget. In this time of austerity, European taxpayers' money is not delivering what it should, such as public goods and the well-being of Europe's citizens. Our key challenges in tackling climate change, biodiversity loss and resource inefficiency need to be prioritised ahead of funding for unnecessary infrastructure projects and the subsidising of intensive agriculture.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The report, called “Changing Perspectives – How the EU Budget can Shape a Sustainable Future”, presents a new proposal on how to reform the EU funds, analyses different EU policies and suggests concrete solutions that take into consideration the key environmental challenges facing the region. This is the first time that major NGOs with a presence across the EU have presented a joint proposal on how to allocate funds in the overall EU budget 2014-2020.

    “The EU needs to ensure sufficient funding is available for its current environmental policies and that these commitments are seriously integrated in other sectoral policies,” commented Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife Europe. “Each European consumes three times more resources than an Asian and four times more than an African. We need to face up to and tackle these disparities if we want to be credible on the international scene”, concluded Mr Brunner.

    According to the groups, the EU funds should emphasise and promote sustainability in sectors such as transport and housing, while targeting plans and projects that actively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy and resource overconsumption, and that maintain Europe’s green infrastructure.

    Antoine Kedzierski, Policy Officer at Transport & Environment, said: “EU transport spending should be less about joining up points on a map, and more about smarter ways of using existing infrastructure. There should be incentives to help member states implement congestion charging schemes or modernize existing rail infrastructure, for example. And aviation, which causes ten times higher emissions than other modes of transport, should no longer receive taxpayers’ money from the EU”.

    Jean-Philippe Palasi, Director for EU Policy at Conservation International Europe, said: “The great challenge of the century is the switch to a green economy, and this cannot be achieved with a budget structure from the sixties. With the reform we are proposing, the EU budget will contribute to make Europe the world leader in creating green jobs, while addressing the most pressing ecological challenges of our time, like climate change and extinction of species”.

    The report also stressed the importance of increasing LIFE funds (the single EU instrument directly allocated to the environment) to 1% of the 2014-2020 budget and mainstreaming the EU’s biodiversity and climate objectives within all policies and spending, including on the external dimension.

    The report can be downloaded at https://www.transportenvironment.org/Publications/prep_hand_out/lid/616

    The NGOs who commissioned the report are BirdLife International, CEE Bankwatch Network, Conservation International, EEB, Friends of the Earth Europe, Transport and Environment and WWF.