Energy efficiency of existing housing supported by the European Commission

The decision of the European Commission to support energy efficiency of existing housing means that all Member States will be able to invest in energy-efficiency and also in renewable energy measures in housing. The European Cohesion Policy will help finance these measures.

The CoR opinion, led by Mrs Clucas, pointed out that funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) can be used to improve energy efficiency in housing, but only in the Member States which acceded to the EU in or after 2004. Specifically, the opinion called for “the European Union directive on energy efficiency to include the rehabilitation and regeneration of historical housing stock as a priority area for action. With this proposal by the European Commission, this possibility would be extended to all Member States.

The CoR opinion was quoted by the European Parliament in the own-initiative report “Housing and Regional Policy” by Alfonso Andria (ALDE). Mrs Clucas has frequently raised the matter at meetings with the European Commission, with Commissioner Hubner, and at international meetings, in particular as the financial crisis, energy supply problems in Europe, and the need to tackle climate change have all climbed higher up the political agenda.

At the CoR plenary of October 2008, during a debate with European Commission Vice-President Verheurgen focusing on the current financial crisis and its impact on small businesses and local and regional authorities, Mrs Clucas again recalled the need for existing funds to be concentrated on making homes in the European Union more energy efficient through insulation and solar energy, explaining the benefits to gain in terms of energy savings, achieving climate-change targets, creating jobs and helping householders with their bills.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) is the third largest political force in Europe, with more than 100 full and alternate members in the EU Committee of the Regions and 100 members in the European Parliament. It also exists in the Council of Europe and in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The ALDE-CoR website is www.alde.eu/cor.

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