We are happy to see that years of calling for concrete means for a Just Transition have led to this major achievement. The trade union movement will be vigilant monitoring trade union involvement and ensuring quality outcomes of Territorial Just Transition Plans.
The establishment of the Just Transition Fund is a milestone for workers and unions in their fight for accompanying measures in the transition of workers. Drawing on lessons learnt from past transition processes the trade union movement has been pushing for decades to put the Just Transition concept into practice.
The Just Transition Fund that has been set up in the context of the European Green Deal will be a key instrument in supporting regions and workers affected by the transition to a net-zero carbon economy. It is an important signal to workers that the EU is not blind about the reality on the ground and the risks associated for carbon-intensive regions and workers in the process.
What is more, the regulation is explicit that Member States have to ensure social dialogue in developing the so-called Territorial Just Transition Plans, with concrete projects for the most affected regions as a condition to access the funding. During the drafting process, they will have to apply the EU partnership principle.
IndustriAll Europe, together with the ETUC, has been very vocal in pushing for the active involvement of trade unions in the design, implementation and monitoring of the plans. Therefore, we particularly welcome the reference to social dialogue that the European Parliament brought into the regulation. The EU will now have to ensure that active union involvement and comprehensive social dialogue will be the practice in all EU Member States!
Yet, while the Just Transition Fund is a long-anticipated achievement, industriAll Europe was disappointed by the negotiations around the EU Recovery Plan in the European Council last summer. We regretted that the initially proposed €40 bn for the Just Transition Fund (€10bn in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) + €30 bn in Next Generation EU) were reduced to €17.5 bn (€7.5 bn in MFF + €10 bn in Next Generation EU) as a result.
Cutting money for the Just Transition dimension means underestimating the size of the challenge for regions, industries and workers, in particular in the context of increasing the 2030 climate targets. We now have to ensure that all available funds and tools are directed to the same objective of decarbonisation of industry, while finding a solution for every single worker affected and creating new future perspectives for regions and younger generations.
Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe, commented:
“We are happy to see that years of calling for concrete means for a Just Transition have led to this major achievement. The trade union movement will be vigilant monitoring trade union involvement and ensuring quality outcomes of Territorial Just Transition Plans. We will also continue our fight against the attacks on social dialogue structures that we observe in certain Members States at this very moment. If we want to be genuine about a Just Transition, trade unions need a seat at the table when planning the future of workers!”
The Just Transition Fund will enter into force after formal endorsement by the European Council, which is expected to meet on 24-25 June 2021.