Fossil fuels have no place in EU regions’ green transition
Interinstitutional talks must restart to deliver true, climate-friendly Just Transition Fund
The inclusion of natural gas in helping EU regions and territories to transition towards climate-neutrality has been criticised by Left MEP Martina Michels after last night’s vote on the Just Transition Fund (JTF).
The fund, which was first unveiled by the European Commission last year as part of its Green Deal, is supposed to help coal-dependent communities and territories adjust to the bloc’s climate-neutral Union by 2050 – in line with the 2015 Paris agreement.
The budget for the JTF has also changed several times since the original proposal, due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, its five-year budget stands at 17.5 billion euros – down by more than half from the original 40 billions.
For Martina Michels MEP (DIE LINKE, Germany) however, the phasing out of coal only to then allow the JTF to fund projects and technologies for natural gas would make the transition a total sham.
“I am pleased that the European Parliament is setting a clear line to strengthen social concerns in this important vote. The aim of the Fund is to promote cohesion in the EU, create jobs and leave no one behind on the path to a sustainable economy and society. “
“Unfortunately, the Parliament screwed up the vertical start for a sustainable production with energies from renewable sources. A Fund that is geared towards climate-neutrality but ends up allowing support for natural gas projects is totally contradictory.”
“The EU should be supporting sustainable projects – and the JTF should only be used for this. Member states have enough resources of their own to deal with transition technologies,” she added.
The Parliament also approved for interinstitutional talks to restart with the EU Council, so that a true, climate-friendly Just Transition Fund can be delivered.
“The Fund must focus more on the essentials: energy storage technologies, sustainable mobility and digital innovation, for example. These would really benefit our regions and territories. As co-legislators in the Parliament, we will now fight for these improvements in our negotiations with the EU Council.”
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