Just Transition Fund: helping EU regions adapt to green economy
9 Sep 2020 12:30 PM
For regions that have a lot of industry using carbon the move to a climate neutral economy can be challenging. Find out how the Just Transition Fund will help.
The EU is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and has integrated the target across all its policies within the European Green Deal to tackle climate change. This ambitious target requires a transition to a low carbon economy and is challenging for regions relying mostly on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries.
Find out more about the EU’s fight against climate change.
To address the social, economic and environmental impacts of the transition, the European Commission proposed in January 2020 the Just Transition Fund, part of the €1 trillion European Green Deal climate finance plan. The Parliament is expected to vote on the establishment of the Just Transition Fund during September’s plenary session.
A timeline of the figures under negotiation
During a plenary session on 23 July, Parliament challenged the Council to justify the massive reductions in the budgets of the Just Transition Fund and InvestEU in the context of the Green Deal – a long-term EU priority that should not be put at risk.
Who gets funding?
All EU countries are eligible for funding, but resources will be concentrated on regions facing the biggest challenges: regions with high carbon intensity, heavily using fossil fuels (coal, lignite, peat and oil shale). The wealth of the country will also be taken into account.
Moving to a new green era without leaving anyone behind
During a meeting in July 2020, the regional development committee asked for a bigger budget for the Just Transition Fund and to extend its scope to sustainable investments in:
- Microenterprises and small and medium-sized, including start-ups and sustainable tourism
- Smart and sustainable mobility and environmentally-friendly transport infrastructure
- Projects fighting energy poverty, particularly in social housing, and promoting a climate neutral approach and low-emission district heating
- Green infrastructure
- Regeneration and decontamination of brown field sites and repurposing projects, when the ‘polluter pays’ principle cannot be applied
In addition the committee also asked for:
- A derogation for investments related to natural gas in regions heavily reliant on the extraction and combustion of coal, lignite, oil shale or peat
- A substantial increase in the budget
- Co-financing of up to 85% of relevant costs for eligible projects targeting the most vulnerable communities in each region.
- 1% of the total for islands and another 1% for the outermost regions
- a reen rewarding mechanism for the countries reducing their greenhouse gas emissions fastest
Greek EPP member Manolis Kefalogiannis, the MEP responsible for steering the plans for the Just Transition Fund through Parliament, said: “With an increased budget, we will be able to effectively support the regions that need it the most, but, above all, strongly support our citizens. We are moving into a new green era without leaving anyone behind."
Where the Just Transition Fund aims to invest
- Small and medium-sized enterprises as well as new firms
- Research and innovation
- Afordable clean energy, emission reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy
- Digitalisation and digital connectivity
- Regeneration and decontamination of sites, land restoration and repurposing
- the circular economy, including waste prevention, reduction, resource efficiency, reuse, repair and recycling
- Upskilling and reskilling of workers for alternative employment
- Job search assistance
- Transformation of existing carbon-intensive installations
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