Commission supports Member States in their transition to a climate-neutral economy

climate

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has approved all requests made by 18 Member States for support with the preparation of their territorial just transition plans, which each Member State will have to draw up to get access to funding from the Just Transition Mechanism. To recall, the Just Transition Mechanism is part of the European Green Deal Investment Plan and will mobilise at least €100 billion of investments to provide additional targeted support to the regions most impacted by the transition towards a climate-neutral economy and with less capacity to deal with the challenge. The approval follows a dedicated call, launched by the Commission at the end of February 2020 under the Structural Reform Support Programme.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Our work on delivering the European Green Deal continues. Climate change remains a reality. Fighting it is as pressing as before. The Commission is strongly backing Member States to ensure a just transition in all European regions. This support under the Structural Reform Support Programme is an important step – it will help to establish transition plans and allow Member States to benefit from the Just Transition Mechanism, making sure the transition towards a green economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind.

Under the Structural Reform Support Programme, the Commission will provide tailor-made expertise to, for example, help national and regional authorities:

  • assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of the transition and outline the transition process up to 2030;
  • build a dialogue among stakeholders, such as citizens, business and civil society, to reach a common vision on how to go about the transition;
  • and identify actions to achieve a successful just transition.

Next steps

Over the next months, until end of 2020, the Commission will provide targeted support to help Member States with the preparation of territorial just transition plans. Member States will hold the pen in drafting and finalising the territorial just transition plans,in close consultation with relevant national, regional and local stakeholders, ensuring ownership of the transition. The plans will then be submitted to the Commission for approval.

Background

On 11 December 2019, the Commission presented the European Green Deal, with the ambition of becoming the first climate-neutral bloc in the world by 2050.

On 14 January 2020, the Commission announced the European Green Deal Investment Plan  to help finance the transition. But not all Member States start from the same point in their transition – some will be more impacted than others. The Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) is a key tool to ensure that the transition towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind. The Mechanism provides targeted support to help mobilise at least €100 billion over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions, to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the transition. Special attention will be paid to regions strongly impacted by the transition but with less capacity to deal with its challenges.

To access funding, Member States have to draw up, in dialogue with the Commission, territorial just transition plans. In these plans, Member States will identify territories that would be most impacted by the transition towards a climate-neutral economy, set out the development challenges of these territories, and outline their pathways for transition until 2030, in close consultation with relevant national, regional and local stakeholders. The Commission’s approval of these plans will unlock the support of Member States through the 3 pillars of the Just Transition Mechanism: 1) the Just Transition Fund, which will provide grants that will mobilise €30-50 billion for social and economic transformation in just transition regions; 2) a dedicated scheme under InvestEU, which will crowd-in up to €45 billion in private investment, and 3) a public sector loan facility, which will mobilise €25-30 billion euros in public sector investment.

The Commission is providing swift support to Member States through the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) to help prepare their territorial just transition plans and thus implement the European Green Deal. To do so, at the end of February, the Commission launched a dedicated call under the SRSP to help prepare the territorial just transition plans. 18 Member States (BE, BG, CY, CZ, EL, ES, FI, HR, HU, IE, IT, LT, LV, PL, PT, RO, SE and SK) requested such support and the Commission approved all 18 requests. Over the past two years, the Commission already provided hands-on support to regions through the SRSP to help prepare long-term economic strategies for their transition out of coal, such as in Slovakia’s Horna Nitra region, Greece’s Western Macedonia or Romania’s Jiu Valley.

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