Meeting EU environmental standards, or moving towards reaching them, poses a major challenge for the countries, including, inter alia, the need to conduct policy reforms, develop appropriate environmental infrastructure, build up administrative capacity, undertake activities to implement all of the objectives of environment sector policy. Significant domestic and foreign financial resources must be mobilised to address these many challenges.
The previous EU enlargement showed that mobilising financial resources for the environment and their effective allocation are the key elements in meeting the financial challenge of convergence with EU environmental acquis. The Commission is cooperating with the candidate countries, potential candidates and with the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partners to assist in meeting the financial challenge of environmental improvements through providing financial support, stimulating regional initiatives, cooperation with other financial actors and providing capacity building.
In 2001 the Commission adopted a Communication on The Challenge of Environmental Financing COM (2001) 304 that provides guidance on developing financing plans and identifying sources of finance for environmental infrastructure investments.
In 2009, the Commission adopted a Staff Working Document Promoting Effective Financing for the Environment SEC (2009) 1309 that discusses the need for strategic approaches, effective coordination of domestic and international financial flows for all aspects of environmental protection through a process involving a broad range of stakeholders.