PRESS RELEASE- Green Budget Europe response to EC CSRs ‘Commission drops fossil fuel subsidy reform, putting citizens’ health and the EU’s position at climate negotiations in jeopardy’

30/05/2015- The country-specific recommendations (CSRs) released by the European Commission are devoid of any mention of Environmentally Harmful Subsidies, expert platform Green Budget Europe (GBE) reveals. This stands in stark contrast to the CSRs issued in 2014, when the Commission pointedly asked Italy to “remove environmentally harmful subsidies”. Last year, the Commission had also requested both Belgium and France to “phase out environmentally harmful subsidies”. GBE says: “Overall, the entire CSRs run to around 5,000 words but the very word environment is only used in once. That’s in relation to one of Europe’s smallest countries – Luxembourg – which the Commission asks to “broaden its tax base, in particular on consumption, recurrent property taxation and environmental taxation”.

“There was a very deliberate decision to leave climate and environment out. In 2014, the Commission asked 8 Member States to shift taxation to pollution and environment. In 2015 the equivalent figure is zero. On energy, 17 Member States were asked to enhance renewable energy, strengthen their national grids or boost efficiency in 2014. Twelve months later the equivalent figure is zero”, said James Nix, Director of Green Budget Europe.
“It’s hard to imagine a more retrograde step in the year of crunch climate change talks. Doubtless we’ll hear the Commission fudging saying it will come back on energy-related issues at some other time – hopelessly unspecified – under the Energy Union. The reality is that the key people at the very top – Juncker, Timmermans and Day – have emptied the bath without having any fresh water to replace it. What sense does it make to throw away the tools of the EU without any consensus on the implementation of a whole new and largely unknown scheme?”, he asked.

Read the entire press release 2015-05-15_press-release_country-specific-recommendations_green-budget-europe.pdf.

Read the op-ed published on Euroactiv here.

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