EU Cohesion Policy: €76 million for a just climate transition in Austria

(Credit: Unsplash)

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


The Commission has adopted the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTP) for Austria together with the first funding under the Just Transition Fund (JTF) worth €76 million. Austria will receive in total €136 million (in current prices) under the JTF to help make sure that the transition to climate neutrality does not leave anyone behind in the Austrian local economy and society. 

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “The adoption of the Austrian Just Transition Plan together with the first JTF instalment is good news for Austria. The green economy is our future and the Just Transition Fund is here to support a smooth and fair green transition in Austria’s regions that face the steepest path to climate neutrality.”

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I am very happy to see the adoption of the Plan and the first allocation from the Just Transition Fund for Austria. This programme will strengthen innovation and research to boost the climate transition while at the same time making sure that in this transition process no one is left behind.” 

Austrian regions and municipalities undergoing significant transformation which will receive support from the JTF are located in Upper Austria, Carinthia, Lower Austria, and Styria. These regions have a strong presence of carbon-intensive industries such as metals, paper, cement, and chemicals.

Support for entrepreneurship and green innovation

The plan will create employment and mitigate job losses linked to the green transition. This will be done by investing in the development of new business models and sustainable green business areas proactively accompanying companies in their transition process.

The plan will finance advisory services to local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and start-ups (incubation, acceleration, related infrastructure investments) and local start-up ecosystems. This includes strengthening already established incubators, building new incubation capacities with a focus on green business models, and improving access to incubation capacities (e.g., in cooperation with tertiary education and research institutions). 

Background

The JTF supports the territories facing biggest challenges in the transition towards a climate-neutral economy. The identification of these territories is specified in TJTPs, and it is carried out through a dialogue with the Commission in the framework of the negotiations of the 2021-2027 Partnership Agreements and the associated programmes. The TJTPs, developed in close consultation with local partners, set out the challenges in each territory, as well as the development needs and objectives to be met by 2030. They also identify the types of operations envisaged along with specific governance mechanisms.

The JTF is the first of the three pillars of the Just Transition Mechanism. The approval of TJTPs also opens the door to dedicated financing under the other two pillars: a specific scheme under InvestEU and a Public Sector Loan Facility for Just Transition that combines Commission grants with European Investment Bank loans. Overall, the Just Transition Mechanism will provide targeted support to help mobilise around €55 billion over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions to alleviate negative socio-economics impact of the transition.

On 2 May 2022, the Commission adopted the Partnership Agreement with Austria laying down the Cohesion Policy investment strategy for 2021-2027, including the JTF. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the Partnership Agreement, is another source of support for research and innovation to improve the energy efficiency in the Austrian economy. 30% of the ERDF will be dedicated to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change in the country.

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