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EU funds misspent in Central and Eastern Europe, report

Lack of climate commitments undermines fossil free future

26 January, 13:26

(ANSA) - BRUSSELS - EU billions destined to transform the carbon-intensive, inefficient energy systems of central and eastern Europe (CEE) are being misspent, finds a new report by CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe. Bad spending plans and a lack of climate commitments from nine central and eastern European governments is hampering Europe's transition away from fossil fuels, the groups say.

The new research reveals that in CEE countries only 7 per cent of the 178 billion euros in European Regional Development and Cohesion Funds allocated until 2020 will be invested into renewables, energy efficiency and SMART grids, and that the integration of climate considerations into all plans and projects - as required under EU law - remains superficial.

"CEE countries are prioritising energy intensive transport and fossil fuels over solutions to climate change" Markus Trilling, campaigner for CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe said.

The European Commission asked member states to concentrate EU funding on climate action and climate mainstreaming within the EU's seven year, one trillion euro budget for 2014 to 2020. The new report lays the blame squarely on the insufficient spending plans and absent climate commitments of the countries receiving the funding. For example, both Poland and the Czech Republic will offer financial support for the replacement of 'old coal boilers' with 'modern coal boilers' under the heading of environmental protection. According to the report, Estonia will retain carbon-intensive oil shale as its major energy source; Croatia and Estonia have received support for airport extensions - usually excluded from EU funds. In Romania, a third of all the money received will be spent on the transport sector, without any integral climate considerations. (ANSA).

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