||A toolbox for reforming environmentally harmful subsidies in Europe
||Directorate-General for Environment (European Commission) , VVA
|Year of adaptation
||In Europe, public authorities are spending several hundred billion euro each year in subsidies that may harm the environment. This spending aims to meet a range of non-environmental objectives, such as economic and social goals. Nevertheless, such environmentally harmful subsidies (EHS) counter agreed environmental policy objectives. This spending is often a legacy of old policies and usually the money could be better spent to deliver economic, social and environmental objectives more coherently. For many years, efforts to reform and progressively phase out EHS have been ad hoc in Europe and elsewhere. These efforts have only been partially successful since a broad political consensus across a range of policy areas is required. In principle, everyone agrees that government actions should not harm the environment. In practice, however, this can mean difficult discussions on how to deliver a range of non-environmental government objectives, and often there are losers as well as winners of reforms. While there are many good examples of reform, the potential to phase out EHS is still significant, allowing some of this public money to be freed up. The pressure for reform has increased since the adoption of the Paris Agreement at the international level and the European Green Deal at the EU level. As a result, many initiatives have emerged to accelerate the EU’s green and economic transition, which has given new impetus to EHS reforms that can significantly contribute to reaching environmental objectives. This report helps facilitate the EHS reform process by providing a toolbox consisting of examples and case studies to support national discussion on EHS reform. It recognises the need to look at why subsidies currently exist, the distributional effects of reforming them and the potential economic, social and environmental impacts.
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