EP rapporteur wants to allow energy subsidies for housing
By Isabelle Smets | Friday 27 April 2012
The European Parliament’s rapporteur on Cohesion Funds, Victor Bostinaru (S&D, Romania), wants to allow these funds to be used to support investment in energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in housing. To this end, the MEP has proposed an amendment in his report, which was discussed in the Committee on Regional Development (REGI), on 26 April.
The European Commission has proposed the possibility of co-financing energy investment in housing, but via EU Regional Development Funds (ERDF) rather than Cohesion Funds. The proposal on Cohesion Funds explicitly excludes housing support (but allows for investment in energy efficiency and renewable energies in SMEs and public infrastructures).
According to Bostinaru, allowing Cohesion Funds to co-finance such investments in housing would be “one of the most efficient ways of achieving the EU’s objectives in the area of energy efficiency”. It would be “a contribution to a ‘greener’ Europe” and “a huge impetus for ‘green’ jobs via the SMEs concerned”.
However, the Commission does not seem to be listening to this, emphasising rather the need to distinguish ERDF from Cohesion Funds, “which have a specific purpose”. Cohesion funds “should not be spread over many areas,” it said.
The shadow rapporteurs who spoke at the committee did not oppose Bostinaru’s proposal, which received explicit support from Nikos Chrysogelos (Greece) for the Greens-EFA group. n