EU spending on climate change-related activities should be increased to up to 20 per cent of the whole EU budget, according to Connie Hedegaard, the climate commissioner.
Hedegaard called on member states and EU budget institutions to make sure climate change activities get the attention they deserve in the next multi-annual framework, which will run from 2014 to 2020.
Only about 7 per cent of funds in the present budget are directed towards climate change, according to Hedegaard. The Commission has proposed that at least a fifth of expenses should be climate-related.
“Instead of parking climate spending in some distant corner of the budget, we are moving it into the big spending areas,” Hedegaard said of the Commission’s budget proposal. “The climate focus is also evident in the budget for research and innovation which is considerably increased in our proposal—from €54 billion to €80bn.”
As part of the Commission’s proposal, she said in a statement on 20 July, around 30 per cent of payments to farmers would be conditional on environmentally friendly farming practices and emissions reduction.
Also, competitiveness spending for regions with a GDP of over 75 per cent of the EU average would include a clause that 20 per cent of funds must be directed towards energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.
Spending for small-scale climate projects should also be increased, the Commission says. Hedegaard is proposing to increase the budget for local and regional technology initiatives and small businesses from €300 million in the present budget to €800m in the next financial framework.