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.
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.
|(Commitment appropriations in EUR million, at current prices)|
|Programme||2014-2019||Draft Budget||Total 2014-2020|
|For Reference: Total EU Budget||118.054,4||158.606,8||151.498,4||155.910,4||156.681,4||162.073,7||164.046,1||1.066.871,1|
|Climate Change finance||16.174,0||28.398,4||33.018,4||31.555,8||32.437,5||33.809,9||34.451,8||209.845,8|
|Share of climate||13,7%||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.
- 09/2017 - Report: Climate mainstreaming in the EU budget: Preparing for the next MFF
- 04/2017 - Study on the mainstreaming of adaptation into the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014-2020
- 13/06/2016 - Study on the mainstreaming of climate action into the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014-2020
- 10/09/2015 - Study on climate mainstreaming in the programming of centrally managed EU funds
- 05/2017 - Statement of estimates of the European Commission for the financial year 2018 (Preparation of the 2018 Draft Budget)
- 21/03/2017 - Council conclusions 7495/17 on the special report 31/2016, adopted by ECOFIN
- 11/2016 – European Court of Auditors' Special report No 31/2016: Spending at least one euro in every five from the EU budget on climate action: ambitious work underway, but at serious risk of falling short
- 09/2016 - Mid-term review/revision of the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020
- 08/03/2014 - Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 215/2014 of 7 March 2014 laying down rules for implementing Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund with regard to methodologies for climate change support, the determination of milestones and targets in the performance framework and the nomenclature of categories of intervention for the European Structural and Investment Funds
- 19/11/2013 - An EU budget for low-carbon growth
- 08/02/2013 - European Council Conclusions of 7-8 February 2013 on MFF 2014-2020 including provision on at least 20% climate related expenditure
- 23/10/2012 - European Parliament Resolution of 23 October 2012 on MFF 2014-2020 strongly supporting the Commission’s proposal to mainstream measures to combat climate change with the aim of at least 20 % of expenditure being climate-related
- 29/06/2011 - "A budget for Europe 2020 – Part II: Policy fiches" - Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions