Practical options for climate change mainstreaming in the EU budget

Climate change is among the key priorities for the 2014-2020 EU Multi-annual Financial Framework. The Commission has proposed that at least 20 per cent of the future EU budget shall target climate change activities. This will be achieved through the mainstreaming of climate obligations across different funding instruments inter alia Cohesion Policy and the Connecting Europe Facility. The legislative proposals on the separate funding instruments have included some provisions aimed to facilitate this mainstreaming. Specific ideas include a quantified earmarking, a requirement for tracking climate-related expenditure, the use of conditionality, etc.

Several questions arise:

  • Are the proposed provisions appropriate and sufficient to guarantee a robust policy framework that will deliver the necessary scale of funding and improve the performance of EU spending from the point of view of low carbon and climate resilient transformations?
  • How can these provisions be translated into specific mechanisms and tools for ensuring climate change mainstreaming in spending programmes and investment projects? and
  • What are the political constraints and implementation challenges of advancing such a policy framework in the final legislative packages?

The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) is carrying out a project which aim is to explore options and identify concrete tools and mechanisms for the mainstreaming of climate change in the 2014-2020 EU Cohesion Policy and the Connecting Europe Facility (special attention will be paid to assessing and exploring methodologies for tracking expenditure and reporting progress to climate change mainstreaming). This will be the topic of a one-day policy dialogue workshop ‘Practical options for mainstreaming climate change in the 2014-2020 EU budget’ organised by IEEP on 1 February 2012 (see background document). The final project report will be published in March 2012.

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