European Committee of the Regions welcomes European Commission funding
proposal under cohesion policy and backs demand for additional resources
and revised state-aid rules
The Just Transition Fund and Mechanism proposed by the European
Commission have taken on board the EU's regions' and cities'
demands for place-based tools to address the transition towards climate
neutrality. But Europe's local and regional leaders warn against
diverting funds from EU regional funds - cohesion policy - and
centralising the new fund's governance.
The launch of the
European Green Deal Investment Plan
is expected to trigger €1 trillion by 2030, and the creation of a new
fund to support the transition towards climate neutrality in
territories reliant on carbon intensive industries, responds to demands
made by the EU's regions and cities. The European Committee of the
Regions (CoR) – the EU's assembly of local and regional leaders – has
called over the past two years for a dedicated EU funding tool to
support the decarbonisation of Europe's economies and minimise the risk
of job layoffs, profit losses and undermining economic and social
Making Europe climate-neutral by 2050 is no longer a question, but
a necessity. To achieve this, we need fundamental structural reform
across every region and city. It now needs member states to show
solidarity, putting their hands in their pockets, and offer
additional funding managed in partnership between all levels of
" said CoR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz, stressing
This why it is of utmost importance that the European Commission
opted to establish the fund under the EU's cohesion policy,
integrating existing EU structural funds. But the fund's governance
must be consistent and avoid any centralisation towards Brussels or
EU capital cities if it is to succeed
With regards to budgetary implications, Vojko Obersnel
(PES/HR), Mayor of Rijeka and CoR rapporteur on the Just Transition
Mechanism, said: "
We welcome that all affected regions will benefit from the Just
Transition Fund and there will be additional money. However, € 7.5
billion do not make up for the severe cuts to the overall cohesion
policy budget discussed by the Council. All additional financial
promises by the Commission are high hopes for the moment – but will
they be able to deliver in the regions?".
Looking at ongoing negotiations on the EU budget 2021/27, he added
"We risk that the further cuts to cohesion proposed by the Finnish
Presidency end up to become the solution to accommodate the
financial needs of the new initiative. We'll fight together with
the European Parliament and all cohesion stakeholder to avoid this
The references to a revision of current state aid rules, included in
the proposal for a European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just
Transition Fund, are in line with a position previously adopted by the
CoR. They might also represent a first important response to a
long-time demand by the CoR of applying to cohesion policy the same
exemption applied to funds directly managed by the Commission (e.g.
We appreciate that the European Commission is proposing more
flexibility on state aid rules for the regions affected by
phasing-out of coal
" said Mark Speich (EPP/DE), State Secretary of North
Rhine-Westphalia and CoR rapporteur on
Socio-economic structural change of coal regions in Europe
, adding that: "
The Commission is thus responding to the recommendations of the CoR
It now has to be seen how this flexibility can best be implemented.
The future state aid rules should also allow the possibility to
promote investments by companies in order to mitigate the threat of
job losses. This right has to be granted to all regions affected by
the exit from coal.
The European Committee of the Regions is expected to adopt its opinion
on the Just Transition Mechanism in March.
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