EU’s just transition ambitions face acid test

(EurActiv, 2 Mar 2020) The European Commission is due to release proposals Wednesday (4 March) to enshrine the EU’s goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 into hard legislation. But concerns remains over the size of a fund aimed at making the transition smoother for countries heavily dependent on coal and other polluting industries.

The EU executive has tabled a €7.5bn-strong Just Transition Fund to sweeten its Green Deal ambitions for EU countries reliant on fossil fuels.

Under a plan launched in January, the Commission has put together €100bn for member states to share over the next decade, although the lion’s share of that Just Transition Mechanism comes in the form of investments.

The pillar of the mechanism that has proved of most interest to national governments is the €7.5bn fund (JTF), which is comprised of what the Commission insists is fresh money. It has also decided how much each country should be awarded and which regions are eligible.

Areas heavily dependent on fossil fuel power generation, carbon-intensive industries like cement and steel, and transportation hubs are all on track to get a slice of the fund, pending approval of Just Transition Plans. Member states will compile those this year.

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EurActiv, 2 Mar 2020: EU’s just transition ambitions face acid test