Repères : politique, procédure et gestion budgétaires

Exchange on Green Budgeting practices – 8th-10th April 2024

Le 03/06/2024

This seminar, hosted by the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, marked the end of a training project on green budgeting within the European Union that started in 2021

The project consisted of four modules focused on Green Budgeting training and knowledge exchange among Member States, during which the Budget Directorate was frequently called upon to share the French Green Budgeting methodology. 

The modules were structured as follows: (1) an introduction to green budgeting frameworks and practices; (2) country-specific case studies on green revenue and expenditure; (3) country-specific diagnosis and guided self-assessment of national green budgeting framework; and (4) exchanges among officials on best practices in green budgeting.

The seminar lasted for three days and was attended by representatives from 12 member states: Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland and the Netherlands. Some of these states already possess a green budget, while others are in the development phase, and some have yet to implement one.

Throughout the three days, presentations were delivered by the Budget Directorate, Agence France Trésor, the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning, the General Commissariat for Sustainable Development, the Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE), as well as several participating Member States and the European Commission. The event opened with an introduction by Mélanie Joder, Director of the Budget Directorate, who outlined the significance, recent advancements, and new challenges facing the French Green Budget. Christoph Schwierz, Head of Unit at DG REFORM for the European Commission, then explained the EC's support for the development of Green Budgeting practices among EU Member States.

Following a brief overview of the French Green Budget by the French Budget Directorate, discussions focused on the governance of French green budgeting and its integration into the budgetary procedure. Practical cases were presented, including exceptions tagging, tagging at a finer level, and sector-specific examples (Energy, Housing, Transport, Agriculture, and Biodiversity). 

Next, the governance of green budgeting in the European Union was addressed by DG ECFIN, who outlined key elements in selected European countries. This was followed by insights from the Italian Ministry of Finance regarding institutional arrangements in Italy, including the roles of the Ministry of Finance and line ministries.

Discussions on green bonds issuance and green budgeting were then led by Agence France Trésor, the Ministry of Finance from Luxembourg, and Poland. 

From a political perspective in France, the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning (SGPE) plays a crucial role in overseeing ecological planning. It ensures coherence and monitoring of ecological policies, initiates and frames ministries and stakeholder mobilization, coordinates negotiations, and evaluates the effectiveness of implemented actions. During the seminar, the SGPE presented France’s action plan aimed at accelerating the ecological transition, called “France Nation Verte”. Additionally, it emphasized the role of public finances in the French decarbonization strategy. The Ministry of Finance from the Czech Republic highlighted the establishment of a Department for Sustainability Policy within the Ministry, underscoring the growing recognition of sustainability concerns within governmental structures.

Furthermore, several member states (Ireland, Finland, Estonia) reported on their progress in green budgeting and their approach to the Do Not Significantly Harm (DNSH) principle. The General Commissariat for Sustainable Development presented the latest developments relative to biodiversity in France. 

Regarding the involvement of civil society, transparency, and accountability, I4CE and other French think tanks or NGOs discussed the role and perspectives of civil society organizations in France’s green budget. Germany shared insights into its role in developing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) budgeting in Germany. Lastly, Umanotera, the Slovenian Foundation for Sustainable Development, outlined its contribution to green budgeting in Slovenia.

Overall, the seminar served as a platform for fruitful exchanges and collaboration, fostering a deeper understanding and commitment to integrating sustainability principles into budgetary practices across the European Union.