How EU subsidies are wasted on environmentally harmful activities
In Germany more than 100 hectares of land are being built over, sealed or fragmented every day through infrastructure and other development. This is one of the key drivers for the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The government’s own target of reducing this figure to 30 hectares by 2020 can only be achieved through significant policy changes, including the re-direction of EU subsidies.
EU Structural and Cohesions Funds are often used to co-finance the creation of new industrial and commercial zones, in particular in eastern Germany, while the rehabilitation of existing waste land is neglected. According to the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, almost 20% of all public infrastructure subsidies between 1991 and 2006, were used for the creation of new zones, while only 3% were spent on recycling of already sealed land.To make things worse, there are several examples where such projects have not delivered any significant socio-economic benefits; often hundreds of hectares of land are being sealed, attracting only few companies, while huge areas stay empty.