Recognising the urgency of achieving Europe’s climate change targets, the EU is investing one-third of its cohesion policy budget in regional projects to reduce emissions and help countries, businesses and people adapt to new realities.
Europe aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and become climate neutral by 2050. Achieving these targets has meant dedicated funding throughout the EU’s budget.
A total of EUR 392 billion, about one-third of the total EU budget, has been allocated to cohesion policy for 2021-2027. Of this amount, nearly one-third, or EUR 118 billion, is dedicated to responding to climate change.
Why cohesion policy?
Becoming climate neutral will involve large scale economic and social change. Cohesion policy, the EU’s main investment policy, can play an important role in achieving this. It has wide-ranging objectives, supporting job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and a better quality of life in the EU’s regions and cities.
Funding will come from all of the cohesion policy funds. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will contribute the bulk, EUR 69.9 billion (59 %), of the climate funding, followed by the Cohesion Fund (EUR 22 billion), the Just Transition Fund (EUR 18.2 billion), the European Social Fund Plus (EUR 5.8 billion) and Interreg funds (EUR 2.5 billion).
The Cohesion Fund and ERDF are required to dedicate a minimum of 37 % and 30 % to climate-related initiatives. However, the funds and Member States have agreed to increase this to 56 % and 33 % respectively.
The countries and funding programmes that will benefit
The top three investment priorities for the ERDF and Cohesion Fund are energy efficiency in public infrastructure — which involves comprehensive renovation, clean urban transport infrastructure — and prevention or management of floods and landslides. Over EUR 8 billion will be dedicated to each of the first two priorities, and EUR 6 billion to the third.
Poland, Italy and Spain are the top 3 beneficiaries, receiving climate funding of EUR 22.8 billion, EUR 8.8 and EUR 8.9 billion respectively.
In Poland, the three funding programmes that will benefit the most from climate investments are Infrastructure, climate and environment (funded by the ERDF and Cohesion Fund); smart economy (ERDF); and Eastern Poland (ERDF). The latter will support the least developed regions of Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Świętokrzyskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Mazowieckie. They are also among the least developed regions in the EU.
Source: European Commission