Opinion Factsheet 

Towards a socially fair implementation of the Green Deal

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Opinion Number: CDR 4801/2021
Rapporteur: BORBOLY Csaba
Commission: ENVE
Status: Adopted
Date: 28/04/2022
 
Make sure that the climate and energy transition is socially and economically fair, especially in light of soaring energy prices. In that sense, achieving energy independence, speeding up the generation of renewables and increasing energy efficiency are key actions where local and regional authorities can ensure effective implementation of the proposed measures.
The revenues generated by the inclusion of the building and road transport sectors into the EU Emissions Trading System should be used to address the social and economic impacts caused, complemented by other tools and mechanisms such as targeted exemptions from energy taxation.
A percentage of these revenues should be made directly available for local and regional authorities, while part of the financial envelope of the Social Climate Fund should be directly managed by local and regional authorities.
The Social Climate Fund should be implemented under shared management. The role of local and regional authorities in the drafting, implementation and monitoring of the Social Climate Plans, should be increased since it will allow territorial circumstances to be taken into account.
The Social Climate Fund and energy taxation measures should directly target the most vulnerable groups fo the population, with the views of eradicating energy and mobility poverty. To that end, small enterprises should be included among the target groups.
Stress the need to collect relevant energy-related data and indicators in order to better address the issues and ensure that no one is left behind.
The Council decided not to retain the national contribution (co-financing) foreseen in the Commission proposal, as the CoR asked. With regard to the Fund's management method the Council opted for direct performance management combined with elements of shared management, as the CoR requested. It therefore decided to offer the member states the possibility of receiving technical assistance for the implementation of the Plan’s measures
The European Parliament report mentions that Member States will draft Social Climate Plans "following a meaningful consultation of local and regional level authorities, economic and social partners and relevant civil society organisation". These Plans shall include also projects and measures at regional or local level. The design, monitoring and implementation of the Plan should "be undertaken in close consultation with local and regional level authorities".
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

- welcomes the proposal for a Social Climate Fund (SCF) as a statement of solidarity and commitment to achieving a just and socially fair transition, as a way to balance the negative effects on the most endangered groups and territories, and as an answer to our call for enhancing the integrity of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) while providing support for vulnerable regions and groups;

- underlines that climate and energy policies as well as the carbon market must not affect vulnerable households, micro- and -small enterprises, and mobility users, including in rural and remote areas;

- demands that at least a 35% of the financial envelope of the SCF should be directly managed by local and regional authorities;

- demands that the SCF shall provide support under shared-management to Member States, and regions, for the financing of the measures and investments included in their National or Regional Social Climate Plans ('the Plans') as part of their structural funds;

- calls for a recognition of local and regional authorities' role as key contributors to the national Social Climate Plans, while ensuring that the drafting does not add an administrative burden to the local and regional authorities;

- emphasises that while the aim of the SCF is a step in the right direction to deliver a just green transition, further efforts in financial terms should be developed. The SCF itself will not be enough to tackle the undesirable social effects and economic shortcomings of the measures to achieve climate neutrality.

- demands that the revenues derived from the ETS II should in part be allocated to the SCF and to measures directed to ensure that no one suffers disadvantages from achieving climate neutrality;

- suggests that in case the carbon price leads to higher revenues than expected, the financial envelope of the SCF will be increased accordingly;

- welcomes the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive so that its content is adjusted and adapted to the need for increased climate action and environmental protection;

- suggests analysing territorial patterns for Member States at regional level in order to allow regional or even local exemptions or reduced levels or other compensation in special circumstances such as poverty risk for the most affected households and businesses.
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