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Fossil fuels received a total of € 55 billion in public funding across the EU in 2016. In some countries, like France and the Netherlands, fossil subsidy amounts are rising.
Editorial office / Brussels

These figures are published in a recent report from the European Commission on energy prices and costs in Europe.

Fossil fuels are funded most heavily in the UK (€ 12 billion), with the energy sector as the biggest recipient, followed by the residential sector, industry and transport. Germany, France and Italy also spend more than 6 billions each on subsidies for coal, gas and oil. They, however, also spend more on renewable energies. This is not the case in the UK, where subsidies for renewable energy are decreasing, Community Energy England (CEE) said earlier this year (an organization committed to collective renewable energy projects).

It is worth noting that some countries will even spend more on fossil subsidies in 2016 than in 2008. Including France (from ~5 to ~8 billion), the Netherlands (from ~1.5 to ~2 billion) and Poland (from ~0.5 to ~1 billion). Fossil subsidies in other EU countries remained about the same or decreased slightly. Belgium spends almosts as much as the Netherlands on fossil fuels.

Reinforcement necessary

The Commission states that, despite the Paris Agreement and international commitments made in the context of G20 and G7, fossil fuel subsidies in the EU have not decreased in recent years, ‘implying that EU and national policies might need to be reinforced to phase out such subsidies.’ However, according to the latest available international comparisons (2015 data), subsidies to fossil fuels are even higher outside the EU. Subsidies to petroleum products (mainly tax reductions) account for the largest share within fossil fuels.

The fossil sector also generates income. In 2016, energy taxes collected by EU Member States amounted to € 280 billion or 4.7% of the total tax revenue. Excise duties (of which more than 80% comes from oil products) constitute the largest part of energy taxes.