“No territory and no people left behind”, the European Socialists’ appeal to ban fossil fuels from Cohesion Policy

“No territory and no people left behind”, the European Socialists’ appeal to ban fossil fuels from Cohesion Policy

Renewable energy associations, NGOs and several political groups call for stronger environmental provisions after the REGI committee  voted a weaker draft of the initial ERDF proposal.

On February 14th, the Regional Development committee (REGI) of the European Parliament voted on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF). These regulations, which are part of the EU’s budget plan for 2021-2027 (Multi-Annual Financial Framework, or MFF), will have a direct impact on the overall European energy system and investments at local level in upcoming years.

Solar Heat Europe has been working with other renewable energy industry associations and environmental NGOs to push for stronger measures and increased funding for energy and climate action. However, the final text approved by the REGI committee is weaker than the one originally proposed by the Commission. This current draft also undermines the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR), the guidelines that set the general objectives and orientation of Cohesion Policy and which the REGI committee adopted a month ago on January 22nd. As we reported before, the adopted Common Provisions seemed to set a clear objective to ditch EU investments in fossil fuels and promote renewable projects, which means that the REGI Committee is actually watering down the ambitious guidelines it set itself merely a month ago.

To promote a just energy transition, and a bigger focus on the social and environmental aspect of the Cohesion Policy, the S&D group organised an event on February 7th and presented an appeal entitled No territory and no people left behind. In the text, the socialist group stresses how cohesion policy can be a powerful driver for European sustainable development. To achieve this vision, they also ask for a ban of subsidies for fossil fuels. The event was co-organised with the Party of European Socialists (PES) group of the EU Committee of Regions and saw the participation of several members of the European Parliament (including the rapporteur for the ERDF file Andrea Cozzolino), industry and NGOs representatives.

The ERDF and Cohesion Fund regulations will be now voted in the next Parliament plenary in March.

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