European Ministers meeting on Monday (February 21) are being urged to reform Europe's spending to ensure it supports a green economy.
CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe are calling on member states to commit to spending more of the billions of Euros of structural funds for new member states on energy savings and other green measures. The call follows warnings in a European Commission report that insufficient Structural and Cohesion Funds are being used for energy savings and environmental programmes.
"Central and eastern European countries are lagging behind in improving energy efficiency for residential buildings, burdening their populations with high energy costs and jeopardising their emissions reduction objectives, and this is just one example of a wasted opportunity to ensure spending has long-term benefits for the environment and people. Governments must use the money available to make energy efficiency measures in residential buildings their priority. This would ensure the creation of numerous green jobs and strengthen the European economy," says Markus Trilling, EU Funds campaigner at CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe.
"Considering how beneficial greener spending would be to Europeans still struggling with the economic crisis, it is all the more disappointing to see the current tendency among Member States to refrain from clear commitments towards Europe's sustainable development goals," added Trilling.
Brook Riley, climate justice and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe says: "With less than 1% of the Community budget currently going to energy efficiency and renewables, the European Commission's call for more and better funding is overdue but very welcome. Redirecting EU funding to energy efficiency and renewables will create new jobs, cut CO2 emissions, and save up to €1000 per household every year. But funding for sustainability goals must go hand in hand with strong legislative action: making the EU's energy efficiency target binding would help ensure the funds are properly used."
CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe have written to European Ministers outlining the priorities for reform of the EU Cohesion Policy to put Europe on the path of sustainable development. 
Notes for editors:
1. See the letter sent by CEE Bankwatch and FoE to European Minister.