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EU not leading by example on green investing, auditors say

Economic IndicatorsSep 20, 2021 11:57AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

By Kate Abnett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Union is not doing enough to steer its own spending away from polluting activities or to mobilise private funds for green investments, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) said on Monday.

The EU is revamping its financial regulations to help raise money for projects that support its climate change targets, including through its "taxonomy", a complex new rule book to tell investors which activities are truly green.

While the EU executive Commission's proposals will make clearer which activities are sustainable, the ECA said in a report, they do not do enough to discourage investments that harm the climate.

"Unsustainable activities are still too profitable," said ECA member Eva Lindstroem, who led the report.

The European Commission accepts or partially accepts the auditors recommendations, a spokesperson said, adding that work on the taxonomy is ongoing.

The EU's sustainable finance taxonomy has triggered a battle between its member states, who disagree on which investments should be labelled "green".

Brussels has delayed until later this year a politically sensitive decision on whether gas and nuclear energy will be included in the rules. The Commission's advisers have said gas power plants should not be considered sustainable, and have raised some concerns about nuclear energy.

Lindstroem said a taxonomy that deviates too far from experts' recommendations could lose credibility.

The auditors said the EU was not practising what it preaches on green finance since its own budget supports some polluting activities.

Parts of the EU budget can be spent on infrastructure for natural gas, a fossil fuel, while most EU spending programmes do not require individual investments to be screened against strict enough environmental standards, the auditors said.

"In practice, this means that the EU funds harmful activities," Lindstroem said.

The auditors recommended that the EU apply consistent sustainability criteria across its budget - such as the "do no significant harm" principle from its taxonomy, which analyses whether an investment undermines EU climate change goals.

"The Commission has already integrated, wherever possible, aspects of the Taxonomy Regulation into the EU budget," a Commission spokesperson said.

EU not leading by example on green investing, auditors say
 

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Comments (4)
Meru Pet
Meru Pet Sep 20, 2021 12:00PM ET
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EU doesn't lead by example, they lead with taxes
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Sep 20, 2021 11:55AM ET
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After they built all those natural gas burning power plants, invested trillions on them?  It will not fly.
Jose Cabreja
Jose Cabreja Sep 20, 2021 11:48AM ET
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non are..that Green topic is every decade..all they say is..by 2050..used to be by 2020 back in the 90s..all govt can go green anytime n make $..but it's not about the $..all about control of next generation.
Mase Gumbo
Mase Gumbo Sep 20, 2021 11:31AM ET
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good lets implement it
 
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