The EU Parliament’s budgets and economy committees voted to scrap the earmarking of at least €5 billion of European stimulus cash for energy efficiency initiatives over the next three years, but moved to safeguard cash meant for climate research.
The joint committees voted down the ringfencing of cash for energy saving backed last week by the industry committee amid procedural wrangling that saw the body ousted as the assembly’s lead on the issue.
The Greens blamed pressure from the centre-right EPP, the Parliament’s biggest parliamentary grouping, to reverse last week’s surprise ballot on the European Commission’s January proposal on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, known as the Juncker plan.
“Democratic vote … sabotaged by orchestrated plot of grand coaliton leadership,” said Luxembourg MEP Claude Turmes on Twitter.
Increases in energy efficiency spending would cut the bloc’s energy use, dampening demand for EU ETS allowances but guarantees over such spending could also ease industry reluctance to pass stronger carbon market reforms.
Under the plan, Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker aims to kickstart EU economic growth by unlocking €315 billion of public and private investments over 2015-2017, with €26 billion of guarantees from public funds and the member state-owned European Investment Bank.
The two committees, sitting jointly, also voted to protect the Juncker plan from using finances currently under the Horizon 2020 project to fund research into climate protection measures.
The Council, Parliament and the Commission must agree for the bill to be made law. Commission officials had spoken out against ringfencing but France and Germany had backed the idea in March.
By Ben Garside – email@example.com