EU encrypts transition to low-carbon economy

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Mostly, “Leave no one by the wayside”. This expression, dear to the outgoing Commission chaired by Jean-Claude Juncker, is already widely used by the new European executive, led by Ursula von der Leyen, who explains that he is committed to guiding the European Union (EU) towards a more ” green “.

Its goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, while mitigating the social and economic costs of the ecological transition for everyone, everywhere in Europe.

The new Commission, in office for just over a month, therefore presented its plan to finance this transition on Tuesday January 14th to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It plans to mobilize no less than € 1 trillion in sustainable funding between 2021 and 2030, thanks to the leverage of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The share of Europe

In all, a quarter of the EU’s budget should be spent on climate – about € 500 billion in public money. The Commission has clarified the breakdown. 300 billion would go to the InvestEU fund (also known as the “Juncker plan”) to help the EIB reach the 1 trillion euros, through public and private investments. 100 billion will be reserved for national co-financing.

As for the remaining 100 billion, they will be used to finance a “Just transition fund”. This brand new mechanism aimed at helping European regions with the most carbon-dependent economies. In these territories, Brussels could support the development of new technologies, or train populations whose employment is linked to fossil fuels.

The announcement of this “FTJ” (it is already nicknamed in the mysteries of institutions) responds to a longstanding concern. Last July, when Ursula von der Leyen was trying to convince MEPs to vote in her favor, she was already talking about this project. In December, when the long-awaited communication on ” Green deal “Has been revealed, the FTJ construction site already appeared as one of the keys to making this” Green Pact Achievable.

A shock absorber open to all

The Commission wondered at length, oscillating between the hypothesis of making the FTJ only available to the ten European countries most dependent on fossil fuels (and where the green transition risks doing the most damage on the employment) and the idea of ​​opening it up to all Member States.

It was this second option that was chosen, even if the device clearly aims to ” to reassure “ the Eastern countries – Poland in the lead – still reluctant to fully engage in the ecological transition.

Now that this project has been clarified, it is time for negotiators from the Member States (within the Council of the EU) and those from the European Parliament to take up the issue. The Commission would like the co-legislators to agree as soon as possible (it wishes the FTJ to come into force next year), but the battles over the figures, the mode of governance of these new tools and the criteria for having them access will still be numerous and intense.

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