Commission makes energy ‘top priority’ of EU budget reform

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Energy policy should rank among the “top priorities of the EU budget,” claimed Budget and Financial Programming Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite at a conference yesterday (12 November 2008) on reform of the EU budget.

Money from the budget should be allocated to “research on energy efficiency, investments in new technologies and renewable energy sources,” Commissioner Grybauskaite stated.

The suggestion follows a broad consultation that the Commission had with member states, social partners, political leaders and members of civil society over the reform of the EU budget. 

However, given that a large proportion of the EU budget had already been set aside for agricultural subsidies, she did not expect the EU budget to be reformed in the near future. Indeed, she admitted: “Given the sensitivity over the common agricultural policy, we do not expect radical changes.”

Nevertheless, given the support for making energy one of the top priorities, she said that this sends out a very serious signal to politicians “about new policies and new priorities that Europe is facing now and in the near future”. 

The conference on the EU budget reform follows a long public consultation between the Commission and a variety of public and private parties, which started on 13 September 2008 (EURACTIV 13/09/07)

As the current EU budget runs for the 2007-2013 period, it remains to be seen what the member states’ verdict will be on the result of this conference. 

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