EU triples green investment

The European Commission is to invest EURO 105 billion (£97 billion) in green projects in its latest budget - almost triple the amount earmarked in the last round.

The money – a massive increase on the 2000-2006 allocation – will be invested through the EU Cohesion Fund and amounts to almost a third of the regional policy budget for the period 2007-2013.

The commission said the funding “offers a solid platform for job creation and a significant boost for regions and cities in their quest to maintain Europe’s global leadership in the field of green technologies.”

Making the announcement last week (March 9) Danuta Hübner, European commissioner for regional policy, said: “Support for the green economy and the environment goes hand-in-hand with the Cohesion Policy’s objective to deliver sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness.

‘In a difficult financial climate, this investment will be instrumental in creating long-term employment and reviving local economies, as well as underpinning the EU’s commitment to the fight against climate change.”

The money will be used to help the EU meet ambitious climate change target of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and producing 20% of total energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020.

More than half the money – €54 billion (£50 billion) – is to help member states to comply with EU climate change and environmental legislation.

The budget includes €23 billion (£21 billion) to cut railway emissions and €6 billion (£5.6 billion) for clean urban transport along with €4.8 billion (£4.5 billion) for renewable energies and €4.2 billion (£3.9 billion) for energy efficiency.

Some €28 billion (£26 billion) of the total is to go towards improving water and waste management.

Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from €3 billion (£2.8 billion) for research and development of environmentally friendly products and production processes.

The EU is keen to boost investment in green technologies prompting job creation and economic growth.

The Cohesion Fund is used to close the economic and social gaps between member states by helping to fund major environment and transport projects.

The UK is to get almost 1.6 billion euros with the majority to be spent on urban and rural regeneration projects, clean urban transport promotion and eco-innovation in SMEs.

For a full breakdown of Cohesion Policy investment in the environment by individual member state for 2007-2013 go to the following link.

David Gibbs

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