Worried by climate change, EU moves to end fossil fuel funding

(EurActiv, 9 Nov 2019) The European Union should phase out its funding of oil, gas and coal projects, EU finance ministers said in a joint statement on Friday (8 November), in a move that could mark a major shift in the bloc’s efforts to combat climate change.

It is the first time EU finance ministers have backed a declaration urging an end to fossil fuels funding altogether, having called previously only for an end to funding for coal power plants.

The statement, adopted by EU finance ministers, retains some ambiguity, however, saying it “encourages” multilateral development banks “to phase out financing of fossil fuel projects, in particular those using solid fossil fuels” – a term referring to coal.

And any phase-out, the statement adds, should also take into account the “energy security of partner countries” receiving funding from multilateral donours such as the World Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

An outright phase-out could halt multi-billion-euro financing of fossil fuel projects by the EIB, the EU’s financial arm.

Last year, the EU bank funded nearly €2 billion of fossil fuel projects. Since 2013, such funding has amounted to €13.4 billion, EIB data show.

However, gas projects in Ukraine, Croatia and other EU partners might still be funded after Hungary pushed for a waiver, fearing those countries would otherwise need to rely on Russia, confidential documents seen by Reuters show.

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EurActiv, 9 Nov 2019: Worried by climate change, EU moves to end fossil fuel funding