The Green Alliance, a leading environmental think tank in the UK has recently published “unlocking a low-carbon Europe“, an excellent collection of articles about a climate-friendly budget for the EU. I had the chance to contribute with my article “Winning the Budget Battles” lining out (institutional) strategies to achieve a more friendly outcome for our climate.
Reform of the EU budget matters deeply for the pursuit of the low-carbon economy. For there is arguably no policy lever as important as the EU budget for setting the direction of EU action. While the size of the budget remains close to just one per cent of EU’s Gross National Income, it has the ability to lever additional spending by member states and the private sector. However, it is perhaps its political value that is of most influence. For the way in which the EU spends its resources is the primary indicator of its political priorities and its institutional ability to organise their pursuit.
This collection of viewpoints from diverse businesses and NGOs, social organisations and think tanks, addresses the political challenge of acting on these two priority areas of climate change and the reform of the EU budget. These will be the defining tasks not just of 2010, but of the new terms in office of the European Commission, European Parliament, and President of the European Council. Successful agenda setting action in 2010 will set the EU on course for policy delivery throughout this new decade. Movement on the EU budget will help unlock a low carbon Europe, while the continuing pressure for action on climate change can create the momentum required for budget reform.