Structural Funds in Eastern Europe: Fossil fuels instead of energy transition

January 29, 2016

Hat: According to a report published by Friends of the Earth Europe on Tuesday (26 January), Eastern and Central European countries rarely use their EU funding for energy transition projects, but for fossil fuels.

Funding Scheme: 2016-01-29

Isfondstruct: Yes


Eastern and Central European countries rather use their EU funding to subsidise fossil fuels than for energy transition projects.


According to a report published by Friends of the Earth Europe on Tuesday (26 January), only 7% of the €178 billion allocated to nine countries in Eastern and Central Europe is spent on renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements or “smart grids”.

The report covers allocations from both the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund for the period 2014-2020, in Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

Climate considerations

Though a requirement of the EU, “the integration of climate change considerations into all investment areas” is carried out “at a mainly rhetorical level”, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.

The Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund and the ERDF are the main tools supporting infrastructure investments in Europe. Over the period 2014-20 these funds will distribute €351 billion among the 28 EU member states.

New coal-fired boilers

Among the many examples cited are those of Poland and the Czech Republic, which finance the replacement of old coal-fired boilers with newer models, under the pretext of better protecting the environment.

Croatia and Estonia were also criticised for using European funds to extend airports, despite these projects not being eligible for EU funding.

Friends of the Earth Europe stated in its report that, “energy or transport infrastructure built today will determine production and consumption patterns, including GHG emissions, for decades to come. [These] countries are denying investors the certainty they need in order to commit to renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies.”

The NGO advised the EU to pay closer attention to how its funds are spent, to ensure that the projects are consistent with its climate change mitigation objectives. This, Friends of the Earth said, should achieve this by cutting all EU funding, direct or otherwise, for fossil fuels.

Url description: Euractiv