Guest essay by Eric Worrall
While European leaders noisily parade their commitment to green issues on the world stage, behind the scenes the EU has quietly slashed funding for renewables, to make up the deficit which will occur when Britain leaves the EU.
Eastern Europe turns to private sector as EU clean energy budget cut
Published on 21/06/2018, 4:52pm
Czech officials warn the loss of EU structural funds and carbon market revenues leave a funding gap for renewable and energy efficiency projects
The Czech Republic may have to scrap key clean energy projects because of cuts to the EU’s next budget, a government minister has told Climate Home News.
Central and east European (CEE) states are due to lose around a quarter of their EU structural funding and 20% of Emissions Trading System (ETS) revenues next year, as the bloc looks to save money ahead of Brexit.
The two funding streams are vital for a wide variety of climate projects. Most ETS earnings are currently ploughed into national emissions-cutting initiatives.
Equally, climate-related projects received €18bn or 28% of all EU budget funding last year, with energy efficiency the largest single beneficiary, taking just over a third of the total.
The cutbacks would help to plug the roughly €12bn-sized funding hole that Brexit is expected to create – and to fund a similar amount pledged for increases to defence and migration spending.
There are other places fat could have been trimmed from the European budget.
For example, the European Union has a huge problem with corruption, but it seems every time official investigators get close to identifying who is stealing the EU’s money, the European Commission cancels the investigation.
Skipping another semester on anti-corruption
Date: 13 June, 2018
In 2014 the European Commission committed itself to take action against corruption by publishing the first EU Anti-Corruption report. However, only two years later the Commission scrapped the report in an exchange of letters between Commissioner Frans Timmermans and the European Parliament.
The decision was a political one, as it can be seen from the meeting note of European Commission. The decision was criticized by 56 civil society organisations, including Transparency International EU, who called for the EU to live up to its commitments in the fight against corruption.
The European Commission said that their efforts would continue within the European Semester process. The recommendations that are made to member states however speak a different language.
It is worth nothing that people with fraud and embezzlement convictions are sometimes appointed to the European Commission, arguably the top governing body of the European Union – though I’m sure these appointees have learned from their past mistakes.
Video of Nigel Farage listing the criminal convictions and former Soviet affiliations of newly appointed European Commissioners
I guess one thing is clear from all this murky byzantine political maneuvering. When times are tough, and cuts must be made, generous green subsidies are a soft target for cash strapped politicians – even for politicians who noisily proclaim their support for renewable energy.