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EU’s ‘just transition fund’ gesture muddies budget waters

(EurActiv, 15 Nov 2018) Europe’s fossil fuel-dependent regions could benefit from an additional €5 billion under the next EU budget, thanks to a proposal endorsed by the European Parliament. But it could complicate already complex talks with the Council, which is eager to cut future spending.

On 5 November, the Parliament’s budgets committee signed off on a proposal that allocates €4.8 billion for an Energy Transition Fund (ETF) to help regions green their economies.

Negotiations are still ongoing on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, following the European Commission’s May proposal but MEPs have already called on the EU executive to propose a new regulation that will establish the fund.

During a EURACTIV event on 6 November in the Parliament on the upcoming COP24 climate summit in Poland, former EP president Jerzy Buzek (EPP) welcomed the support of his fellow MEPs in calling for a dedicated instrument.

But climate experts have warned that the proposed fund, although “commendable”, is just a €5bln “drop in the ocean” when compared with the emission-reduction challenges that will face Europe in the years to come.

Climate Action Network Europe also told EURACTIV that the proposal will be “politically challenging” just as the European Council considers making cuts to the EU’s next budget, rather than injecting new cash.

But in Strasbourg this week, MEPs called on the European Council to speed up its deliberations and agree to a larger budget than the last one. Lawmakers also said that the share dedicated to climate action should increase from the proposed 25% to 30%.

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EurActiv, 15 Nov 2018: EU’s ‘just transition fund’ gesture muddies budget waters