Socialists and Democrats managed to put citizens’ welfare at the core of the transition to a carbon neutral economy. MEPs cast a vote, on Wednesday, on establishing the Just Transition Fund, an instrument that will help ensure that nobody is left behind as technologies evolve towards a greener economy.
Pedro Marques, S&D negotiator for the Just transition Fund stated:
“The Just Transition Fund is the first concrete pillar of the European Green Deal. As it stands now, we are talking about a total of 17.5 billion euros that will be invested in what our Group has always stood for: making sure that nobody is left behind in the transition to a carbon neutral Europe.
“In the coal industry alone, half a million jobs are at risk of being lost. This is why we have fought hard to reinforce the essential social dimension of the Just Transition Fund.
“And we must make things clear - this is not ‘free money’! Countries that have not yet committed to achieving our common goal of climate neutrality will be entitled to only half of the money; the other 50% will be made available to them as soon as they commit. To encourage countries that are already on the right track, we have managed to introduce an 18% Green Rewarding Mechanism as a completely new tool. Thanks to this, for the first time ever in the EU, money is not allocated based on promises, but on concrete achievements.”
Constanze Krehl, S&D spokesperson on regional policy added:
“A series of core socialist issues have been incorporated in the final version of the Just Transition Fund: the reinforcement of the social dimension, social infrastructure, the fight against energy poverty, explicit alignment of the Fund with the 2050 climate neutrality target and 2030 mid-term goals, and a significant part of the fund will be dependent on concrete achievements of decarbonisation goals. We want a European Green Deal with a red heart.
Rovana Plumb, S&D vice-president responsible for regional policy said:
“While acknowledging sensitivities in different member states, countries who find themselves more or less dependent on fossil fuels for their economies, we must underline that the future of our continent, the Union and planet depends on respecting the Paris Agreement and on investing in technologies that don’t pollute.
“I am proud of the achievements of the Socialists and Democrats in this respect. We have turned the Just Transition Fund into the first real step of the European Green Deal.”