Europe – The European Commission will invest Euro 105 billion in environmentally friendly projects over the next few years, focusing on railways, clean urban transport, water and waste management, and energy efficiency, the Commission says.
The funds, from the EU’s cohesion policy for 2007-13, are three times greater than the allocation to environment projects in 2000-06, which amounted to Euro 37 billion, according Danuta Hübner, the European commissioner for regional policy.
HÃ¼bner said that ‘green’ investments would also help to create employment. ‘€˜In a difficult financial climate, this investment will be instrumental in creating long-term employment and reviving local economies, as well as underpinning the EU’s commitment to fighting climate change,’ she said.
A large part of the envelope (Euro 54 billion) is designed to help Member States to comply with EU environmental legislation. Improvement of water and waste management alone accounts for Euro 28 billion of the total.
Romania and Bulgaria are investing the highest proportion of Cohesion Policy funds on environment-related projects, at 45% and 42% of their allocation respectively. These investments include hundreds of environmental major projects, which also contribute to protecting and creating jobs in the EU.
Some Euro 3 billion of cohesion money will be spent to promote environmentally friendly products and production processes in small and medium-sized enterprises, she said. In Finland, Euro 1.5 million of cohesion money was used to set up the Lahti Cleantech cluster, which led to the start-up of 20 new ‘€˜clean technology’ companies start created 170 new jobs, HÃ¼bner said by way of example.
From the total of Euro 105 billion, the EU will invest Euro 23 billion in railways, Euro 22 billion on water management, Euro 6 billion on waste management and Euro 3.9 billion on biodiversity and nature protection.