Future Cohesion Policy shows Green Economy not prominent in the EU Agenda

Posted on 06 October 2011  
Europe can generate huge new markets at home and abroad by investing in cleaner, renewable and recyclable products.
© WWF / Hartmut JUNGIUSEnlarge

The European Commission released today its proposal for the reform of the 336 billion euro Cohesion Policy (1/3 of the total EU Budget 2014-2020) which aims to support the equal development of regions across the European Union.

Expressing his disappointment for the proposal, Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office, says:

“With all the talk of green economy and resource efficiency in the air WWF expected a more ambitious call for a  Cohesion Policy reform that would have provided multiple benefits such as secure long-term jobs in the environmental, energy efficiency and green technology sectors. Today’s proposal demonstrates only modest ambition levels on climate change, and keeps biodiversity and natural resources in the overall framework but without earmarking funds that would ensure the needed level of investments”.

Peter Torkler, WWF Cohesion Policy leader, says:

“Today’s proposal for the next Cohesion Policy still leaves the way open for large amounts of money to be spent in areas that will have little direct benefit for citizens or the environment. A modest 5% of the Cohesion budget for renewable energies and energy savings is simply nowhere near enough to meet the 20% energy saving target which could save around 1000 euro per household every year and create up to 2 million jobs in Europe ”.

“In terms of protecting biodiversity, we are relieved to see that Cohesion Policy recognises Europe´s natural capital as an investment priority; however we miss the obligations for the regions to increase their investments in natural resources. The Cohesion Policy currently invests only 2,7 billion euros in natural capital while it spends 40 billion euros in roads that lock us in high carbon transport systems. We need at least 4 times more money for ecosystem protection in Cohesion Policy. This should come from phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies”.

WWF calls the European Council and Parliament to make sure that the future Cohesion Policy allocates increasingly public finances where it is needed to move towards a greener and safer Europe.

For more information:
Peter Torkler
, WWF Cohesion Policy leader, Tel. +49 151 188 54 963 email: torkler@wwf.de

Stefania Campogianni, Media and Communication Officer, WWF European Policy Office, Tel. +32 2 743 88 15, Mob: + 32 499 539736, email:  scampogianni@wwf.eu

Europe can generate huge new markets at home and abroad by investing in cleaner, renewable and recyclable products.
© WWF / Hartmut JUNGIUS Enlarge