A monthly update on policy development, campaigning and communications

FFS newsletter title 


Winners of the 2018 European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards Revealed!

Last week we announced the winners of the 2018 European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards. The awards expose subsidies for dirty energy, driving up public awareness about subsidies to fossil fuels, which is crucial to driving up the pressure on politicians to phase them out.

Eight nominations which show the broad diversity of subsidies governments and public institutions are still dolling out in countries across Europe went to the public vote. And the winners are……

Gold award


Portugal won first place for handing out a license to national gas and oil companies for drilling in the deep sea in the Southern province of Alentejo, a protected biodiversity area and a tourism hotspot. This subsidy was nominated by ZERO

Silver award



Poland scooped the Silver award for the “capacity mechanism”, a subsidy designed to maintain Poland’s coal-based energy system, nominated by Greenpeace Poland. It will use the public’s money to invest in coal-fired plants - keeping them running well past their viable life-time! 

Bronze award


Spain took Bronze for subsidising coal powered electricity in the sunkissed Balearic islands. The Spanish government directs subsidies - money charged to bill-payers and tax-payers across Spain - to the power plant’s energy company for electricity generation, rather than solar generation. This subsidy was nominated by GOB Mallorca and IIDMA


Five runners-up were awarded a Badge of Dis-Honour, and CAN Europe awarded the European Union a special prize for its support  to gas infrastructure.

Watch a video announcement of the winners, share our tweet and facebook post, and spread the news using #FossilFuelSubsidiesAwards. You can read more about each of the nominated subsidies and the campaigns behind them on the European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards Website.


CAN Europe publishes Fat Cats Report

Klaus Röhrig

In our latest report we show how energy intensive industries in Europe, such as steel or cement companies, are still pocketing huge amounts of public money while doing too little to reduce emissions. These sectors have slowed down the ambition and effectiveness of EU climate policy, while benefiting from watered down regulation, fossil fuel subsidies and preferential tax deals.

Within the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) alone, EU governments missed out on more than €143 billion in revenue from handing out pollution permits for free between 2008 and 2015. At the national level, extremely generous tax breaks ensure that energy intensive industry enjoys unrivalled financial privileges. For example households in Germany pay nearly twice as much for their electricity as energy intensive industry sectors as a result of preferential tax schemes. Total financial gains from such deals amounted to over €17 billion in 2016 for German energy intensive industry, roughly the same as the 2017 German federal budget for research and education. In addition, between 2014 and 2016, European governments provided nearly €15 billion in financial support that encourages continuous use of fossil fuels in industry and business each year. Such subsidies place a double burden of pollution on European citizens, by wasting their taxes and inflicting huge climate change and health costs.

At the same time, energy intensive industry sectors have been among the slowest in the EU to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and invest in solutions to decarbonise and maintain technological leadership. These findings resonate with the most recent data from the ETS inventory published by the European Commission, which shows that energy intensive sectors are running behind the emission reductions needed to fight dangerous climate change. According to an analysis by Thomson Reuters, emissions of industrial installations under the ETS even increased by 1.8 % in 2017.

In order to ensure that all sectors are contributing their fair share to the drastic decarbonisation efforts required under the Paris Agreement, the EU must stop paying polluters and set a more ambitious action plan to drastically reduce industrial emissions well before 2050.

Climate Action in next EU budget - how far can the EU go?

Markus Trilling

Ahead of the European Commission's proposal for the next EU budget 2021-2027, published on 2 May. Climate action in the EU budget has been on the agenda of Brussels institutions, Member States and industry – all calling for more and better climate action post-2020.

Over the last months a number of stakeholders have been vocal on how the EU’s own financing resources could serve its climate policies. At a sustainable finance conference in Brussels in early April, Commission President Juncker set the tone for the upcoming negotiations on the one-trillion Euro MFF: the post-2020 EU budget would spend at least 20% on climate action.

This was topped only by French president Emmanuel Macron who emphasised the necessity of EU financing being coherent with sustainability requirements. He called for a 40% spending target in the next EU budget for climate action and the ecological transition.

Earlier this month, the Green Growth Group (GGG), made up of 17 EU Environment Ministers, signed a statement calling for more and better climate action in the next EU budget. Germany’s Minister also states that “subsidies that are not in line with the Paris Agreement should be discontinued as quickly as possible."

The European Parliament also adopted its position. MEPs are calling for significantly more financial support to tackle climate change, with a 30% climate action spending target, and for the phase out of fossil fuel subsidies in future EU spending. They also emphasise the need for CO2 reduction when investing EU funds in the transport sector, and for explicit support for carbon-intensive regions in their just transition to the zero-carbon economy.

Finally the business community are also taking a stance on higher climate ambition in the EU budget, with the ‘Corporate Leaders Group’, ‘Electrification Alliance’, ‘European Alliance to Save Energy’, ‘Renovate Europe’ or the ‘Coalition for Energy Savings’, and trade unions (ETUC) sending their green EU funding demands.

This is the high-level talk needed to prepare the ground for upcoming proposals and negotiations. However, the devil is in the legislation: the European Commission’s proposal on the next EU budget expected in May must now ensure words are put into action. We expect the legislative proposals pinning down each fund's funding priorities and conditionalities to be put on the table on 29 May.

For the post-2020 EU budget to serve higher climate ambition and deliver on the objectives of the Paris Agreement, we need a 40% spending target for climate action, respectively 50% for climate action and the ecological transition, and a climate proofing system to ensure no more fossil fuel or carbon and resources intensive projects receive funding. EU funds also need to visibly increase the ambition of upcoming National Energy and Climate plans (NECPs).






Euractiv (EU): The EU must stop funding gas infrastructure projects with taxpayer money

- Euractiv (EU): Croatia to unveil results of LNG tender in late May

- Public Finance International: Campaign calls for more climate-focused EU budget

- Euractiv (EU): IEA scenarios ‘inconsistent’ with Paris climate goals, study warns

- Euractiv (EU): Karins MEP: Small-scale electricity producers don’t need special protection

- Euractiv (EU): In Brussels, Michael Bloomberg praises EU drive for green finance

- Reuters: Exclusive: Viability of French-Spain gas pipeline questioned - report




- Clean Energy Wire: Study denounces German coal & nuclear subsidies / Dirty diesel exports

- The Irish Times (Ireland): Government still providing millions in subsidises for fossil fuels – CSO

- Euractiv (EU): Poles reject ‘totally unacceptable’ EU power market reform

- Bulgarian News Agency (Bulgaria): Greenpeace Bulgaria Nominates 19 Coal Companies for European Anti-Awards







- Pv-magazine: IEA leads governments off the Paris Agreement track, report states

- Financial Times (UK): How to make a carbon pricing system work

- Bretton Woods Project: As World Bank signals end of extraction finance, CSOs call for end to its other fossil fuel funding





The letter, signed by 31 business associations, think-tanks, CSOs and other organisations including CAN Europe,calls upon President Juncker to significantly increase the current 20% climate action share of the EU budget, to climate proof the entire budget by excluding fossil fuels, and to ensure that EU funds add to Member States’ efforts to achieve the 2030 and 2050 climate objectives. Read CAN Europe’s press release on the letter.



Green campaigners including Greenpeace Europe, EEB,Birdlife, have called on the European Commission to increase the proportion of CAP funding that is ringfenced for climate and environment spending.


A coalition of nearly 800 organizations released a letter to California Governor Jerry Brown, urging him to take immediate action against fossil fuel extraction in the state before his term ends.   



After 177 MEPs supported the objection to the list on March 14th, Keep It In the Ground invite you to contact Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regarding the list of “Projects of Common Interest” (PCI) containing new gas projects. Suggested actions: 

  • Send a thank you email to the MEPs from your country who supported the objection. Here you find a list of all MEPs that voted against fossil gas and their emails. Here you can find a short sample email.

  • Request a meeting with your MEP to talk about how you can work together to stop the fossil gas projects in your country. Here is a list of all PCI projects including arguments against each one, so you can check which ones are proposed in your country and how to attack.




CAN Europe: Juncker and Macron back more spending for climate action 

Green Budget Europe: The green transition will not happen without the financial sector




CAN Europe: EU ministers mute on climate friendly cohesion policy at General Affairs Council

CEE Bankwatch: Statement on today’s General Affairs Council. 











Screenshot from 2017-01-05 14:55:35.png

For an overview of the main national fossil fuel subsidies in Europe, click on the map below (also available on our website):

Screenshot from 2017-01-05 14:47:28.png 

Browse the different sections of our website relating to fossil fuel subsidies:


  euro-white-icon-in-form-of-F.png   Fossil fuel subsidies
  ic_shuffle_white_48dp_2x.png   Avenues for change
  ic_description_white_48dp_2x.png   Publications



NGO publications



  ic_event_white_48dp_2x.png   Events






Voices against fossil fuel subsidies have grown stronger in the last couple of years - both among civil society and world leaders - but it is apparent that European decision makers don’t feel enough pressure to start putting their money where their mouth is. A united voice from NGOs and other actors will help to steer the debate in the right direction – towards enhanced and fair climate action.  CAN Europe is working with our network members and non-members across Europe to support the development of a strong, common narrative on phasing out public financial support for fossil fuels. What is your story? Contact: Nicolas Derobert

Have any news you want to share or comments on the content ? Contact:

For continual news updates and useful resources, visit our website.

Latest Publications

  • Letter to European Commission on industrial transformation

    CAN Europe calls upon the Commission to build policy frameworks that guarantee economy-wide transformations that meet several environmental objectives.
  • Delays to Balkan energy transition cost more

    ▶️ One Balkan country clocks its first coal-free days,▶️ Another is rushing in the opposite direction, reviving shelved projects for a new coal plant.▶️ 2-speed energy transition in the Western Balkans,▶️ but delaying just transition beyond coal costs more.  Read the latest news and stories from the region's journey beyond coal. Delays to Balkan energy transition cost more Europe Beyond Coal unites civil society groups across our continent in working towards a swift and just transition away from coal-fired electricity and towards sustainable, renewable energy… Go to this presentation here   Read the previous issue: Make-or-Break Time for Balkan Green Agenda 
See All: Climate & Energy Targets