Ahead of anticipated final agreement in the European Parliament this week (Tuesday November 19) on the forthcoming EU budget (for the period 2014-2020), CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe have today published data that shows how eight central and eastern European countries are failing to tap the climate potential of future EU billions.
The green potential of a third of Europe's budget for 2014-2020 has been hollowed-out following a vote in the European Parliament today, according to Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth Europe. The committee for regional development (REGI) has approved proposals to reform EU Structural Funds – money intended to improve the economic well-being of regions – which include a last-minute shift from legally-binding to voluntary environmental spending.
Following today's approval by the European Parliament of Europe's €960 billion budget for 2014-2020, Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth Europe are calling on individual member states to make the most of a disappointing deal by respecting green spending commitments – thereby boosting green jobs and truly sustainable investments.
Negotiations to agree on how part of the EU budget for 2014-20 will be spent are set to conclude this month. Friends of the Earth Europe, alongside BirdLife Europe, CEE Bankwatch Network and WWF is warning against using part of the EU budget for oil, coal and gas subsidies – undermining Europe's efforts to bolster environmental protection and deliver more sustainable economic gains.
Today, 27 citizens’ projects from eight Central and Eastern European countries were awarded for their winning ideas for how EU funds could be well spent on sustainable and environmentally friendly local initiatives. The award ceremony, hosted by CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe, and opened by Elisabeth Schroedter MEP, highlighted that EU money doesn’t need to only support massive infrastructure projects.
A summit in Brussels on the EU budget for 2014-2020 concluded today with an unambitious commitment for 20 percent of EU spending to go towards tackling climate change. CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe called on member states' governments to build on this with national spending plans that ensure quality outcomes that work for Europe's people and environment. 
Ahead of this week's second round of negotiations to secure a deal on the European Union's budget for 2014-2020, environment groups CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe are urging European leaders to commit to high-quality spending in Europe for the next seven years, and not sidetrack with discussions on quantity.
Following the collapse of negotiations on the European Union's budget in Brussels, a new study from Friends of the Earth Hungary and other Central European environmental organisations highlights that how EU funds are spent is just as important as how much is spent.
With today's collapse of negotiations at the EU budget summit in Brussels, environment groups CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe called on countries to focus their efforts on agreeing a deal in the new year that has quality EU spending at the top of the agenda.
As European leaders gather in Brussels today for the EU budget summit, quality spending must be the focus of discussions if the future European budget is to tackle Europe's environmental and economic crises, according to environment groups CEE Bankwatch Network, Friends of the Earth Europe and Transport & Environment.