In June, the governments of Czechia, Poland, Hungary and Estonia opposed the EU’s long-term climate neutrality goal because of financial concerns. The Just Transition Fund, initiated by the European Parliament and currently under development in the European Commission, aims to address this concern and help EU’s fossil-fuel dependent regions in their swift transition to clean energy.
While NGOs welcome the earmarking of EU funding to support the transition to a net-zero emissions economy, questions remain whether the new Just Transition Fund will be sourced with additional funding beyond what is available under Cohesion Policy funding. Using the revenues from additional aviation allowances under the Emissions Trading Scheme could be such an additional source of income.
Furthermore NGOs insist that transition funding should only be given to countries and to activities that accept and support a vision to fully decarbonise and ensure that the money is aimed to support the people that need it rather than wasting it on greedy companies.
Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“EU leaders rightly consider that climate change requires targeted finance for climate action, particularly in the Europe’s most fossil-fuel dependent regions. However the Just Transition Fund alone will not do the trick. The entire EU Budget has the potential to catalyse the transformation needed in all sectors of the economy. And the EU funds going to the regions are well designed to deliver such support, only if Member States set their priorities accordingly.”
Raphael Hanoteaux, Policy Officer at CEE Bankwatch Network said:
“Discussions about the size of a Just Transition Fund or the overall EU Budget should not overshadow a more important conversation about the quality of spending. EU leaders must ensure that local communities are involved in how any money is spent to ensure ownership of the long-term transition.”
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