The just announced European Union summit in November, mentioned in your article (‘Summit called for talks on EU budget', September 6), dedicated to agreeing on the future EU spending for 2014-20, must not be derailed by more eurozone emergencies. This summit is a vital building block in ensuring that the future budget contributes to Europe's economic and environmental recovery and benefits the EU's 500 million citizens in these troubled economic times.
With its proposals for the 2014-20 budget, the European Commission sought to give greater prominence to EU funding of environmental programmes by suggesting that at least 20% of the overall pot go to actions aimed at combating climate change. However, environment groups believe that this figure needs to increase to 25% in order to meet the EU's goal of reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80% by 2050.
In addition, texts within the so-called ‘negotiating box' of the ongoing EU budget deliberations currently make no reference to specific pro-climate spending percentages. This needs to change quickly. Climate- change commitments must be firmly embedded in the negotiating box, so that we can achieve EU climate goals and create a new generation of green jobs across Europe.
In this budgetary context, energy savings is one example of a quick win that will have lasting benefits. There are approximately 190 million buildings in the EU, representing 40% of EU energy consumption and 36% of GHG emissions. With the support of increased, dedicated EU funds, energy savings in buildings have the potential to leverage additional funds at national level and unlock a whole range of positive outcomes in a short space of time: reduced fuel poverty, substantial cuts to emissions, thousands of sustainable jobs and enhanced European innovation.
The horse-traders about to descend from national capitals for the budget talks would do well to remember that such beneficial spending programmes will help all of Europe to recover from the crisis, stronger, fairer and more competitive.
Nina Renshaw Deputy director Transport and Environment (T&E)
Markus Trilling EU funds co-ordinator for CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe
Sébastien Godinot WWF European Policy Office