European export finance alliance pushes for green incentives [eventually!]

(Global Trade Review, London, 24 November 2021) Seven European countries have pledged to promote reforms and encourage green incentives in the export credit sector, but dashed campaigners’ hopes that they would axe public finance for fossil fuels more quickly than the end of 2022 deadline set at the Cop26 conference. The Export Finance for Future (E3F) coalition, initially comprising Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK, held its second virtual meeting today, hosted by the Dutch government. Belgium, Finland and Italy also joined the alliance today, Dutch state secretary for finance Hans Vijlbrief told the summit following the nations’ closed-door talks. A statement expected after the meeting had not been published as of press time, but a draft seen by GTR said the E3F countries would collaborate on strategies to meeting a pledge signed by each at the Cop26 climate change summit to end public finance support for fossil fuels by the end of 2022. The E3F members provided €20bn in export finance for fossil fuel projects overseas between 2018 and 2020, according to data cited by Oil Change International, a campaign group, and ODI, a think-tank. This compares to €17bn for clean energy projects over the same period. Vijlbrief indicated that attendees at the closed-door meeting endorsed support for natural gas beyond the end of the [Cop26] 2022 deadline. “We all know gas will play a role for a couple of years in our energy supply, that’s no secret,” he said. Peder Lundquist, chief executive of EKF, Denmark’s ECA, told the summit that “logically you need some kind of transition”, pointing to natural gas as a “stable” energy source for power grids in less-developed countries that would struggle to handle a rapid shift to renewables. Deputy assistant for export finance at France’s Treasury directorate, Paul Teboul, said his government does not plan to end support for upstream gas projects until 2035.