The European Union (EU) has committed to becoming the first climate-neutral
bloc in the world by 2050. Through the European Green Deal's Investment
Plan, it seeks to mobilise public investment and help to unlock private
funds through EU financial instruments, notably InvestEU, which it claims
would lead to at least €1 trillion of investments.
As part of the overall planning it is agreed that there will be a fully
integrated, interconnected and digitalised EU energy market. This will
require interconnecting energy systems and better link/integrate renewable
energy sources to the grid. In other words connect the different
state grids, significant grid reinforcement and bring renewable energies
from less populated areas to areas where the energy is required. As part
of the action plan the EU has agreed to develop the full potential of Europe’s
offshore wind energy.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said:
“People are at the core of the European Green Deal, our vision to make
Europe climate-neutral by 2050. The transformation ahead of us is unprecedented.
And it will only work if it is just - and if it works for all. We will
support our people and our regions that need to make bigger efforts in
this transformation, to make sure that we leave no one behind. The Green
Deal comes with important investment needs, which we will turn into investment
opportunities. The plan that we present today, to mobilise at least €1
trillion, will show the direction and unleash a green investment wave.”
The Green Deal is based on three dimensions:
- Financing: mobilising
at least €1 trillion of sustainable investments over the next decade.
A greater share of spending on climate and environmental action from the
EU budget than ever before will crowd in private funding, with a key role
to be played by the European Investment Bank.
- Enabling: providing
incentives to unlock and redirect public and private investment. The EU
will provide tools for investors by putting sustainable finance at the
heart of the financial system, and will facilitate sustainable investment
by public authorities by encouraging green budgeting and procurement, and
by designing ways to facilitate procedures to approve State Aid for just
- Practical support:
the Commission will provide support to public authorities and project promoters
in planning, designing and executing sustainable projects.
According to the EU, while all Member States, regions and sectors will
need to contribute to the transition, the scale of the challenge is not
the same. The Just Transition Mechanism aims to provide tailored financial
and practical support to help workers and generate the necessary investments
in those areas. The Mechanism provides targeted support to help mobilise
at least €100 billion over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions,
to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the transition.
The Just Transition Mechanism will consist of three main sources of financing:
1) A Just Transition Fund, which will receive €7.5 billion of fresh
EU funds, coming on top of the Commission's proposal for the next long-term
EU budget. In order to tap into their share of the Fund, Member States
will, in dialogue with the Commission, have to identify the eligible territories
through dedicated territorial just transition plans. They will also have
to commit to match each euro from the Just Transition Fund with money from
the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund Plus
and provide additional national resources. Taken together, this will provide
between €30 and €50 billion of funding, which will mobilise even more
investments. The Fund will primarily provide grants to regions. It will,
for example, support workers to develop skills and competences for the
job market of the future and help SMEs, start-ups and incubators to create
new economic opportunities in these regions. It will also support investments
in the clean energy transition, for example in energy efficiency.
2) A dedicated just transition scheme under InvestEU to mobilise
up to €45 billion of investments. It will seek to attract private investments,
including in sustainable energy and transport that benefit those regions
and help their economies find new sources of growth.
3) A public sector loan facility with the European Investment Bank
backed by the EU budget to mobilise between €25 and €30 billion of investments.
It will be used for loans to the public sector, for instance for investments
in district heating networks and renovation of buildings. The Commission
will come with a legislative proposal to set this up in March 2020.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans,
said: “The necessary transition towards climate-neutrality is going
to improve people's well-being and make Europe more competitive. But it
will require more efforts from citizens, sectors and regions that rely
more on fossil fuels than others. The Just Transition Mechanism will help
support those most affected by making investments more attractive and proposing
a package of financial and practical support worth at least €100 billion.
This is our pledge of solidarity and fairness.”