miercuri, 13 mai 2009

EUROPE: Help the Economy, Hurt the Environment

BUCHAREST, May 13 (IPS) - The European Economic Recovery Plan devised by the European Commission last year to help deal with the financial crisis is likely to fast-track environmentally damaging projects in the new member states.

One of the tenets of the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP), launched in November 2008 by European Commission (EC) president Jose Manuel Barroso, is acceleration of payments to new EU member states from the European Structural and Cohesion Funds and the European Investment Bank.

The accelerated funds, amounting to about 23 billion euros, are destined mainly for infrastructure development, and are considered essential by the EC to creating employment and assisting the economic recovery of the Central and Eastern European countries.

The EERP, which was approved by the European Parliament in March 2009, stresses the need for "smart" investments through promotion of clean technologies, support for micro-enterprises, and programmes for re-training labour.

But environment groups warn that these payments could be used by the new member states for infrastructure projects that are environmentally costly, have better alternatives, or are not sustainable in the long run.


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