Prior to her investiture, the President of the European Commission had announced her desire for the EU ‘to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050’. On the morning of 11 December EU Commissioners secured an agreement that its President, Ursula von der Leyen presented to the waiting press. In her European ‘Green Deal’ address the President insisted that this was ‘more than just a vision’, and that it was a roadmap comprising 50 actions to be undertaken by 2050 for a ‘healthy and climate-neutral Europe’. The President underlined “we have the dual-objective of limiting CO2 emissions, creating jobs and developing innovation.” Key to this agreement is the concept of ‘Just Transition’, the mechanism for which will receive €100 billion “in investment for the most vulnerable regions and sectors of activity.” The President also provided some indications on the cost of inaction, which she argued will only rise with river flooding costing EU citizens over 5 billion annually. The President stated, “Every year, our economy is losing almost 10 billion euros due to droughts and farmers pay the highest price. And this is only the beginning.” The speech was received as follows: Luca Visentini, secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) welcomed the work already accomplished and called for ‘a global Just Transition strategy to be defined in January,’ while drawing attention to the need for a specific Transition fund that ‘will require the EU budget to include new money – not cut from existing social and regional funds – to create green jobs, reskill those workers that can and provide real social protection for those who cannot. The employers’ body, BusinessEurope also welcomed this initiative while nonetheless adding that ‘it is therefore essential to connect the green deal with a strong industrial strategy that mobilizes the hundreds of billions of euros of investments needed.’ The European federation IndustriALL Europe remarked, ” the proposed Green Deal rightly stresses the importance of the European industrial strategy overall,” before adding “this is a step in the right direction, but we have to be clear that the industrial transformation of these regions will require sustained investment and certainly more than the announced amount available for the Just Transition Mechanism”.
EU: European Commission presents its Green Deal that focuses on employment
Planet Labor, 11 December 2019, n°11541 - www.planetlabor.com