A year ago the Belgian government bought 2 million tonnes of CO2 permits from Hungary. This 26 million euros investment aims to fulfill the country’s commitment under the Kyoto Protocol: Decreasing their emissions 7.5 percent by 2012 compared to 1990 levels. Under the terms of the deal, Hungary had to invest the proceeds in the Green Investment Scheme (GIS), an investment vehicle for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Belgium is one of the first countries to experiment with this mechanism. Hence, the results of this deal are decisive for an evaluation at the Summit in Copenhagen.

In this article, Griet De Cort, Thomas Ortegat and Bart van Bael investigate whether the environment will also be benefiting from this multi-million Euro deal. A copy of the Belgian-Hungarian contract was procured through the state regulation on publicity. However, parts of the contracts were missing and answers were not forthcoming, pushing our correspondents to have a look themselves. They went to Hungary to track down these missing millions but it soon became clear that prying eyes are not tolerated in Budapest.

A working grant of € 4.800 allocated on 02/03/2009.

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.