There is a serious risk that the EU’s target of spending at least one euro in every five of the EU budget on climate action between 2014 and 2020 will not be met, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. While progress has been made, the auditors warn that more effort is needed to ensure a “real shift” towards climate action.
In order to respond to climate change, the EU agreed that at least 20% of its budget for 2014-2020 should be spent on climate action. This target is to be achieved by incorporating climate action into the various policy areas and funds in the EU budget. The auditors examined whether the target was likely to be met and whether the European Commission’s approach was likely to lead to more and better-focused funding on climate action.
They found that ambitious work was underway and that progress had been made. However, there remains a serious risk that the 20 % target will not be met without more effort. The implementation of the target has led to more and better focus on climate action in the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund. But in the areas of agriculture, rural development and fisheries, and in the European Social Fund, there has been no significant shift towards climate action.
“There is a serious risk that the EU’s target of spending at least one euro in every five on climate action between 2014 and 2020 will not be met”, said Phil Wynn Owen, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “Progress has been made, but in key spending areas it is largely business as usual. The Commission and Member States should explore all potential opportunities and ensure a real shift towards climate action.”