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Future of EU budget: European Commission proposal neglects the Paris Climate Agreement

28 June 2017
by CAN Europe -- last modified 28 June 2017

The European Commission has published its 'Reflection paper on the future of EU finances' today, the last of five policy reflection papers within the so called "White paper process on the future of Europe".


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With this paper, the European Commission puts down its thinking on the EU budget priorities and structures according to the five different scenarios for the future of Europe, presented by the Juncker commission in March this year on the occasion of the Rome summit.

Every EU budget expenditure sets out to prove 'EU-added value' in line with common priorities. It should unlock synergies or economies of scale where possible while maintaining a certain flexibility to address unforeseen challenges.

A focus on 'EU added value' should result in bold climate action throughout the entire EU budget. The current 2014-2020 EU budget explicitly embraces climate change as horizontal priority, mainly seeking to mainstream climate change considerations into all spending plans.

However, the paper published today takes a harsh turn away from the integration of climate change into EU budgetary spending. Rather, the paper anticipates that its future financing is likely to focus on issues such as defence, fighting terrorism and increased border control, risking the relegation of climate action to an after-thought.

Markus Trilling, Finance and Subsidies Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network Europe said:

"Not including climate change considerations into the future EU budget is a blatant breach of the EU leaders' call for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, of which article 2 requires financial flows to support the economic transition needed to avert dangerous climate change." *

"Climate change can only be tackled with countries and nations working together to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and to reap the multiple benefits of the clean energy transition. Whatever future scenario the EU chooses, climate action should be at its core. The future EU budget thus needs to fully embrace the decarbonization agenda."

"EU funding needs to bring added value to the entire EU and its partners. Investing in renewables and energy efficiency, in the deployment of low-carbon technologies and sustainable mobility, will make EU's economies fit for future. At the same time, an EU budget that is completely climate compatible will allow the EU to meet and go beyond the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement to shift financial flows towards delivering on the objective to limit global warming to 1.5°C."


* In the Paris Agreement, governments committed to "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels" and to "Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development".

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 130 member organisations in more than 30 European countries - representing over 44 million citizens - CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.

Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe)
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