Awards rally cry for climate-friendly EU budget

Financing the transition

Shifting financial flows is crucial to global efforts to combat climate change. The European Commission claims that its proposals for the post-2020 EU budget are in line with the Paris Agreement. However, support for fossil fuels remains in the pipeline of future budget negotiations, as revealed today in the ‘EU Toxic Funding Awards’.

Coinciding with important committee votes in the European Parliament, the ‘EU Toxic Funding Awards’ exposed this risk today, with four EU budget funds receiving the mock awards. Under current proposals, these funds would allow for the use of the EU budget to finance climate-damaging fossil fuel projects.

Organised by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe in partnership with Friends of the Earth Europe, Food and Water Europe and CEE Bankwatch Network, the ‘EU Toxic Funding Awards’ call on decision-makers to reject all fossil fuel subsidies.

Among the awarded funding programmes, the Regional Development and Cohesion Funds came out top as the most toxic with 33% of the votes, closely followed by the Connecting Europe Facility (31%), HorizonEurope (18,3%) and InvestEU (17,7%). Awards were decided by an online vote, open to the public from 5 to 16 November. Under current proposals for the next EU budget these four funds might continue to provide subsidies to fossil gas over the next decade, a fossil fuel with substantial CO2 and methane emissions contributing to climate change and its catastrophic impacts.

The ‘EU Toxic Funding Awards’ are timely reminders of how important it is to safeguard the next long-term EU budget and its funding programmes, both in the European Council and the European Parliament, from subsidies to fossil fuels. Ultimately they call on EU decision-makers to make the next EU budget fully climate-friendly and free of fossil fuels. This means voting for the exclusion of fossil fuels in the upcoming European Parliament committee votes in November and December and during the ongoing Council negotiations [1].

Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said:
“It is shocking to see that current legislative proposals on the EU budget continue to support activities that will worsen climate change over the entire next decade and beyond, just when we need to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C.”

“The EU claims to be a climate leader. This should entail banning subsidies to all fossil fuels, fossil gas included. The bloc must put taxpayers’ money where its mouth is and immediately shift its support away from dirty energy towards renewables and energy-efficient technologies. Such a positive step would benefit not only the climate but also European economies in general. We call on MEPs in the coming days and weeks to vote down any climate-harmful spending of EU funds.”



Nicolas Derobert, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator,, +32 483 62 18 88

Notes to editors:

[1] Timeline of ongoing negotiations on the next EU budget in the European Parliament and European Council:

  • European Parliament: HorizonEurope final vote (ITRE) – 21 Nov
  • European Parliament: Connecting Europe Facility final vote (TRAN/ITRE) – 22 Nov
  • European Parliament: InvestEU final vote in Budg/Econ – 3 Dec
  • European Parliament: Cohesion Policy final vote (REGI) – 17 Jan
  • European Council debate: Multiannual Financial Framework – 13 Dec


Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 150 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.


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