MEPs' transport wish list contradicts smarter spending aims

Environmental NGOs from the ‘Coalition for sustainable EU funds’ [1] warn that today’s European Parliament votes on future EU transport spending contradict MEPs' own ambitions for more sustainable spending by approving a Christmas wish list including damaging projects. [2]

The MEPs voted with a large majority to support stronger sustainability safeguards, called for projects to respect environmental laws and to be in line with the greenhouse gas reduction target for transport of 60% by 2050 compared to 1990. MEPs also called for a 10% ‘bonus’ to co-financing rates for projects offering synergies between clean energy and transport.

Yet at the same time MEPs also voted to weaken the Commission proposal to make it easier to spend EU funds from the Connecting Europe Facility on airports and road projects. MEPs also added several controversial new ‘priorities’ to the annexes of both regulations, including airports and highways in Spain and port and airport developments in the UK and on Greek, Italian and Spanish islands.[3] The committee also warned that the list need not be considered closed, and even more priorities may even be added to the wish list during negotations with the Council and Commission next year.

Markus Trilling, EU funds coordinator for CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “It looks like Christmas has come early for the transport sector, with today's votes unfortunately offering something for everyone, whether or not they’ve been naughty or nice. We applaud the MEPs for setting stricter criteria for financial and environmental sustainability. But the long wish list of priorities contradicts these aims."

Nina Renshaw, transport programme manager at T&E added: "Given the limited EU funds for transport, the Parliament is writing blank cheques for a long list of projects that governments won't be able to cash. When it comes to allocating funds to projects, something will have to give. The sensible criteria that the MEPs called for will be a vital tool in selecting only the smartest clean transport projects."

Footnotes: 

[1] BirdLife International, CEE Bankwatch, Friends of the Earth Europe, Transport & Environment and WWF are members of the ‘Coalition for sustainable EU funds’.

[2] Votes on the Regulations establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (MEPs from Transport & Tourism and Industry, Research & Energy committees) and the Guidelines on the Trans-European Transport Network (Transport committee members only).

[3] The MEPs voted to add several controversial projects to the core network, including: Airports in Alicante, Malaga, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (ES); Heraklion (EL), Cagliari (IT), Nottingham East-Midlands (UK) and Liege freight airport (BE) and ports of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (ES) and Felixstowe - Harwich (UK).


Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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