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Climate Action

Supporting climate action through the EU budget

To help achieve its climate goals, the EU has decided to integrate, or mainstream, climate action across the entire EU budget.

EU budget 2021-2027: Commission proposal to further strengthen climate action

For the next EU long-term budget, the Commission has proposed that at least 25% of EU expenditure will contribute to climate action during 2021-27. This commitment to further strengthen climate mainstreaming, reiterated in the European Green Deal communication of 11 December 2019, reflects the long-term ambition of the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

In 2018, in its communication on the future EU budget, the Commission proposed to build on the positive experience with climate mainstreaming and further strengthen climate action in the next EU long-term budget. This increase in ambition is supported by Commission proposals to strengthen climate action in key areas, such as agriculture and rural development and external action, and increase dedicated funding under the LIFE programme. The Commission published its proposals for individual funding programmes in May and June 2018 and updated some in May 2020.

Factsheet: EU budget for the future – Sustainability, environment protection and fight against climate change

In May 2020, the Commission presented a revised proposal for the 2021-27 EU long-term budget to support the recovery from the Covid crisis and prepare for a better future for the next generation. As outlined in the communication of 27 May 2020, the financial framework for 2021-2027 proposed by the Commission in 2018 remains the central point of reference. An ambitious spending target for climate action is all the more necessary for a balanced recovery package and remains in place in the revised proposal for the long-term budget 2021-27.

Based on the Commission proposal, the political agreement of the Special European Council of 17-21 July 2020 sets an overall climate target of 30% applicable to the total amount of expenditure from the EU budget 2021-27 and Next Generation EU, the main instrument for implementing the recovery package.

EU budget 2014-2020: Climate integrated into all spending areas

The EU has agreed to make at least 20% of EU expenditure climate-related in 2014-2020.

The financing of climate action has been integrated across all EU policy areas in the period 2014-20. In 2019, over 94% of EU finance for climate action came from programmes for growth and jobs, including research and innovation, for cohesion policy and for natural resources, such as agriculture. For instance, funding under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) contributed EUR 8 453 million to climate action that year.

Tracking progress towards the spending target

The EU is on track towards meeting the 20% target in 2020. Based on the 2020 draft budget, the proposed total contribution to climate mainstreaming is expected to reach 21.0 % of proposed total commitment appropriations in 2020 (EUR 34 452 million). On average, the EU budget would deliver 19.7 % for the MFF period 2014-20.

Financing climate action - consolidated updated information on the 2014-2020 programming period
Source: Draft budget 2020, Statement of Estimates, page 117 onwards
(Commitment appropriations in EUR million, at current prices)
Programme2014-2019Draft BudgetTotal 2014-2020
For Reference: Total EU Budget118.054,4158.606,8151.498,4155.910,4156.681,4162.073,7164.046,11.066.871,1
Climate Change finance16.174,028.398,433.018,431.555,832.437,533.809,934.451,8209.845,8
Share of climate13,7%17,9%21,8%20,2%20,7%20,9%21,0%19,7%

Financing commitments are tracked and reported under the annual budget procedure.

The tracking is done using EU climate markers, which are adapted from the ‘Rio markers’ developed by the OECD to provide quantified financial data for tracking development assistance.

The markers reflect the specific features of each policy area and assign a weighting to activities based on their contribution towards climate objectives: significant (100%), moderate (40%) or insignificant (0%). The assessment is based on the programme statements in the context of the annual budget procedure.

Around 80% of EU budget is managed by Member States. They report on climate spending under the five European structural and investment funds using an established methodology.



Useful documents