Waste incinerators instead of recycling, highways running through nature parks, airports in protected areas – 33 projects in central and eastern Europe funded with €16 billion out of the EU‘s regional policy coffers are “environmentally harmful”, says a study by Friends of the Earth (FOE) Europe and Bankwatch, a coalition of environmental NGOs.
“These 33 projects are economically dubious, socially harmful and in breach of environmental law,” Markus Trilling from Friends of the Earth Europe said during a press briefing.
Cohesion policy – the EU term for the €347 billion allocated in 2007 to 2013 mainly to Europe’s former Communist countries to revamp schools, roads and other infrastructure – has to follow broad EU outlines for sustainable or environmental-friendly targets. But it is ultimately up to national governments to approve the individual projects.
Furthermore, Markus Trilling shows that almost 6.5 billion euros has been spent on detrimental projects. Almost 5 billion euros are set to go the same route, and projects totalling another 5 billion are currently considered for financing in the seven central and eastern European countries.
“Money must no longer be squandered on such foolish investments,” adds Trilling. “It is vital that the next one trillion euro EU budget offers possibilities for overcoming the current recession and de-carbonising economies.What we have found is that they are funding unsustainable, unmodern investments. Decision makers have not learnt from the past experience of Spain, Portugal, Greece,” Trilling said.
It is necessary a greater attention to what is about sustainable investments, in order to catch the targets, with no possibility of mistake.