The EU's economic recovery plan should invest funds not spent by September 2010 in energy efficiency and "smart city" projects, said the Industry Committee on Monday, as it amended the European Energy Programme for Recovery. The European Economic Recovery Plan allocates €5 billion in 2009 and 2010 to energy and broadband internet projects and tomeasures relating toreform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The Budgetary Authority (Parliament and Council)have yetto agree on the specific amount of funds to be invested in the different projects.
The Commission proposed to invest a total of€3.5 billion in three different energy sub-programmes: gas and electricity interconnections, offshore wind energy projects and carbon capture and storage technology. The European Council advocated increasing this amount to€3.980 billion.
Unspent funds to be invested in energy efficiency and smart city projects
Legal commitments to invest in projects for gas and electricity interconnections, offshore wind energy projects and carbon capture and storage technology have to be made before 1 September 2010, stipulates the Industry Committee.
If a project does not reach the investment phase due to a lack of project maturity, the funds reserved for this project should "immediately be redirected to projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energies" such as "smart cities", say MEPs.
The committee therefore wants the Commission to submit the proposal on the eligibility and selection criteria that apply for the energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to Parliament and Council by September 2009.
Innovative financial instruments
MEPs also lay down that€500 million of the EU funds should be contributed to "innovative financial instruments" such as loans, guarantees or equity and other financial products providedby the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund and other public long-term financial institutions to support projects in the fields of gas and electricity interconnection, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart cities. The relevant financial institutions would have to contribute an equal amount to the projects, says the amended text.
A team of Industry Committee MEPs led by EP rapporteur Eugenijus Maldeikis (UEN, LT) will start informal negotiations with the Czech Council Presidency to reach an agreement before Parliament's voteat the 4-7 May session.
The report was adopted in committee with 37 votes in favour with 4 votes against and 5 abstentions. - Procedure: co-decision - First-reading in plenary: 4-7 May 2009 30/03/2009 In the chair : Angelika NIEBLER (EPP-ED, DE) REF. : 20090330IPR52895
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