Solar Heat Europe has been actively working with a coalition of environmental NGOs and some renewable energy associations to urge the European Parliament to leave fossil fuels out of EU cohesion funds. This action was also discussed at our General Assembly last November.
We are now happy to say that an important milestone has been reached.
In a vote in the second March plenary, the European Parliament has confirmed its position in favour of excluding fossil fuels from the EUR 320 billion European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cohesion Funds for 2021-2027, signalling a clear commitment to the EU’s obligations to reduce greenhouse gases.
Strong climate ambitions were present in the original proposal from May 2018, but seemed to be watered down at the Committee vote last February as reported. This is the first step of a longer negotiation process (trilogues with the Council will now start), but the strong majority that approved the proposal and the climate-related provisions show that MEPs are seriously committing to a real sustainable transition.
We are also aware that Mr Marc Lemaitre, Director of DG REGIO (EU Commission – Regional Development) is promoting a progressive approach on the topic of cohesion policy, supporting the need to use EU funds to promote economic development in a climate-friendly approach to boost the clean energy transition.
ERDF provide substantial resources for energy transition projects at local and regional level, including heating and cooling. Both larger projects (SDH, SHIP) and renovations in the residential sector can benefit from these funds in the coming years. For instance, in the case of the Polish market, they contributed to a threefold growth in 2018, as reported at the General Assembly.
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