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EU Subsidies for Polluting and Unsustainable Practices

EU Subsidies for Polluting and Unsustainable Practices

EU budget subsidies in areas such as agriculture, fisheries, cohesion policy, transport and energy should be phased out if they are likely to have environmentally harmful effects according to a detailed assessment. This is the conclusion of a Parliament's Environment Committee study that was published in March 2011. Ruta Landgrebe and Dr. Ralph Piotrowski of Ecologic Institute contributed the sections on Agriculture and Fisheries to this study. The report is available for download.

The report provides an overview of the environmental relevance of the largest fields of expenditure within the EU budget. It assesses the sustainability level of key budget items in the EU sectoral policies. It also provides recommendations in the context of a potential reform of subsidies that would contribute to the alignment of the EU budget towards a more sustainable growth as called in the EU 2020 Strategy.

The European Commission plans to put forward budget reform proposals in June 2011.

The study [pdf, 2.5 MB, English] is available for download on the European Parliament website.


Usubiaga, Arkaitz et al. 2011: EU Subsidies for polluting and unsustainable practices. Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Ecologic Institute, Brussels.

English, French, German
Arkaitz Usubiaga
Philipp Schepelmann
Bettina Bahn-Walkowiak (Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt und Energie)
Matthias Altmann (Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH)
110 pp.
Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • 1. Introduction
  • 1.1. Subsidies as a pervasive phenomenon
  • 1.2. Political commitments to remove EHS
  • 1.3. Changing unsustainable trends
  • 1.4. Scope of the assessment
  • 2. Agriculture
  • 2.1. Introduction
  • 2.2. Environmentally Harmful Subsidies
  • 2.3. Conclusions and recommendations
  • 3. Structural and Cohesion Policy
  • 3.1. Allocation structure and priorities of Structural and Cohesion Funds
  • 3.2. Methodology of report
  • 3.3. The programming process of the cohesion policy
  • 3.4. The evaluation process of the cohesion policy
  • 3.5. Results of the mid-term evaluation of the European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013
  • 3.6. Identification of potentially environmentally harmful subsidies within the European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013
  • 3.7. Conclusions and recommendations
  • 4. Transport and Energy
  • 4.1.Methodology
  • 4.2.Transport
  • 4.3. Energy
  • 4.4. Conclusions and recommendations
  • 5. Fishery
  • 5.1. Introduction
  • 5.2. Overview of fisheries subsidies in the European Union
  • 5.3. Conclusions and recommendations
  • 6. Conclusions and Recommendations
  • References
  • ANNEX 1: Tools for the identification of environmental harmful subsidies
  • ANNEX 2: Agriculture
  • ANNEX 3: Transport and energy
  • ANNEX 4: Fisheries
environment, harmful subsidies, agriculture, Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, fisheries, EU, Europe