The budgetary proposal for EU investment in strategic infrastructure lacks coherence and ambition, says Kathleen Van Brempt

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Today the European Commission presented its budgetary proposal for the strategic infrastructures in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027. It covers the InvestEU programme, the Connecting Europe Facility and Space.
 
S&D vice-president for sustainability Kathleen Van Brempt MEP said:
 
“The Commission calculated that we need at least an extra €100 billion in the next MFF to face Europe’s challenges, and they are trying to raise that budget the best they can with some extra money coming from the member states, some proposals for new own resources, some cuts here and some raises there. This figure is not enough and, yet again, the main problem is that the general direction is not right. We don’t see a holistic ambitious view or a clear and progressive direction. However, the framework to guide us is right in front of us, namely the Sustainable Development Goals. It is such a missed opportunity that the Commission did not take on board the SDG’s in their proposal. 
 
“We must stop looking at things from an isolated point of view. Take the earmarking for climate spending for instance. The Commission raised this from 20% to 25%. Of course this is a good decision, but what good will this earmarking bring if the remaining 75% goes in the opposite direction and continues to support highly polluting industries and transport?
 
“We need to stop investing in the past, and drastically choose investments of the future. This requires a mind change. We would expect the EU to redirect the money available towards sustainable alternatives, because they are the ones that will create quality jobs and improve the well-being of the citizens. This should be the guiding principle of the InvestEU fund. But it also means, for instance, taking the money from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) that is spent on new and abundant gas infrastructure and redirecting it towards energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.”

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