MEPs back continued EU subsidies for fossil fuels

22 November 2018

A vote today in the European Parliament on the EU's next seven year budget put another nail in the coffin of a liveable climate by approving potentially billions of Euros of new fossil fuel subsidies.

The future EU budget should be a foundation for Europe's fight against climate change, says Friends of the Earth Europe. But MEPs today green-lighted proposals to continue to use taxpayers money for new fossil fuel projects until 2027.

Antoine Simon, fossil free campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Supporting the further use of scarce public money to build new fossil fuel infrastructure is another nail in the coffin of a liveable planet. Climate change is occurring more rapidly and its impacts are more severe than previously thought - Europe's addiction to fossil fuels cannot end soon enough."

The vote by MEPs in the Transport (TRAN) and Industry (ITRE) committees on the part of the budget known as the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme is part of ongoing negotiations to agree the EU budget for the period 2021-2027.

The Connecting Europe Facility programme finances "Projects of Common Interest"; European energy projects which will shape Europe's energy system for decades the come.

Over the last four years, more than half of CEF funds - almost €1.5 billion - have been spent on new climate-wrecking fossil gas infrastructure, whereas they need to support the transition to an efficient, renewables-based energy system. Today's vote comes despite the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the impacts of 1.5°C of global warming. It also even ignores the International Energy Agency which said last week there is now "no room to build anything that emits CO2 emissions". The European Commission's proposals voted on today also ignore the Paris Agreement committment to align finance with the goals of the agreement.

The Connecting Europe Facility programme has as a principal objective the decarbonisation of the European energy system, and is supposed to prioritise electrification. However, the programme also includes fossil gas projects in its scope which are lethal for Europe's climate objectives.

Antoine Simon added: "Fossil gas is fundamentally a climate destroying fossil fuel. With the additional and abundant volumes of methane emitted during its production and transport, it is a key contributor to climate change. Its extraction is also associated with serious environmental and health impacts. Moreover, most of the gas Europe consumes comes from authoritarian regimes or countries of the Global South where local populations often suffer heavy environmental damages and human rights abuses."

The Connecting Europe Facility text will most likely be voted in the Plenary Assembly of the European Parliamentary before the end of the year.