NGOs ask Barroso for a Commission task force to end environmentally harmful subsidies


José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
1049 Brussels

Brussels, September 8 2011

Subject: Roadmap to eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies
References: Our letter of 17 March 2011; Commissioner Potočnik’s letter of 1 July 2011

Dear President Barroso,

Thank you for asking Commissioner Potočnik to respond to the letter signed by 92 organisations concerning the Commission’s commitment to publish a roadmap for the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies. 

We were pleased to hear that the identification and phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies will be addressed in a comprehensive way in the context of the Commission’s roadmap for a resource efficient economy, to be presented later this year. 

However, we remain concerned that important legislative processes, such as the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, reform of Cohesion Policy, reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, the revision of the EU Energy Tax Directive, and indeed the proposal for the new Multiannual Financial Perspectives are all progressing without prior identification of environmentally harmful subsidies and considerations on how to eliminate them. 

We look upon you and your Commission to safeguard the quality of EU spending and ensure the coherence of all EU policies with the EU’s commitment to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies. We seek your confirmation that you will screen all reform proposals prior to their adoption by the Commission in order to ensure they will truly phase out harmful subsidies and build in robust safeguards against them. 

We suggest that one possible way to achieve a coherent approach across all EU funding lines is to establish a special taskforce within the Commission that systematically screens all proposals, identifies and assesses the impacts of environmentally harmful subsidies, and suggests modifications and safeguards to ensure this kind of funding is phased out. A public disclosure of the results of such work would lend further credibility to the Commission and to the EU as a whole. 

We are deeply concerned that, unless you act, the EU budget will continue to subsidise environmentally harmful activities. We also hereby reiterate our request for a face to face meeting with you to discuss how to best eliminate these types of harmful funding activities, particularly environmentally harmful subsidies. 

Yours sincerely,


Commissioner Dacian Cioloş 

Commissioner Maria Damanaki

Commissioner Connie Hedegaard

Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski

Commissioner Günther Oettinger

Commissioner Janez Potočnik

(Download the full letter here.)

Media Contact

Charlotte Masiello-Riome

Manager, Communications