EU Commission documents reveal fund that pays coal lobby staff

(EurActiv, 20 Jun 2019) Internal documents show that a European Commission fund invests €40 million per year into coal research projects. The money also goes towards personnel costs for Europe’s main coal lobby organisation. EURACTIV Germany reports.

A little-known EU fund managed by the European Commission invests around €40 million each year into coal and steel research.

Around 150 projects are currently receiving financial support under the EU-funded programme, according to documents obtained by green activists at the European Environmental Bureau (EBB), and shared with EURACTIV.

A report by Greenpeace’s “Unearthed” project first drew attention to the “Research Fund for Coal and Steel” (RFCS) in January. Its goal is to support coal mining research to make mines more efficient and environmentally friendly.

The documents released by the Commission show what the funds are actually used for. In addition to workshop costs, meetings and IT support, personnel costs are also listed. A project called “CoalTech2051”, for example, was granted almost €50,000 to hire an employee for seven months.

The project is carried out by Euracoal, the EU-wide lobby organisation for the coal industry. “This means that the EU Commission uses this fund to finance employees of the coal lobby,” said Anton Lazarus, who requested the documents for the EBB.

The documents also reveal that the Commission relies on a so-called Coal Advisory Group (CAG) when deciding which projects to fund.

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EurActiv, 20 Jun 2019: EU Commission documents reveal fund that pays coal lobby staff