Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 16/06/2022

Member States commit to action for a fair transition towards climate neutrality

Employment and social affairs ministers adopted today a joint policy framework for ensuring a fair and inclusive green transition in the context of the Green Deal and the EU’s push for energy security.

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The adopted Council Recommendation, which follows a Commission proposal of 14 December 2021, sets out comprehensive and concrete guidance to help Member States deliver policy packages that ensure the green transition is fair and leaves no one behind, also in light of the REPowerEU Plan to achieve energy independence from Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible.

The Recommendation addresses in particular the employment, skills and social aspects of the transition in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights. Policies under this common framework pay particular attention to the needs of the people and households that could be most affected during the transition, in particular those already in vulnerable situations.

With today’s adoption Member States commit to devise and implement, in close cooperation with social partners, dedicated policy packages to those ends, pursue an inclusive whole-of-society approach, utilise data and evidence to inform policies, and optimally use public and private funding, also by deploying adequate national resources and drawing on available instruments at the EU level.

Fairness and solidarity are defining principles of the European Green Deal, including the ‘Fit for 55’ package of 14 July 2021. Policy actions to support people and their active participation are key for a successful green transition, even more so in the context of the EU’s joint action to accelerate the clean energy transition in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

With the right actions and policies in place, the green transition to the EU’s 2030 climate target has the potential to create an additional 1 million jobs in the EU, as well as some 2 million jobs by 2050. The EU and its Member States continue to anticipate change, improve capacities and provide targeted support to the regions, industries, workers and households facing the greatest challenges.

This also requires actively involving social partners, regional and local authorities, civil society and citizens to participate in the design and implementation of fair transition policies, including through new participatory models.

Putting people at the heart of the green transition

To fully realise the employment and social potential of the green transition and address its challenges, it is essential to use all available tools and put the right policies in place at EU, national, regional and local levels.

Today, Member States commit to take measures and actions, adapted to their particular circumstances, notably for promoting:

  • quality employment and job-to-job transitions, providing for the meaningful involvement of workers. 
  • access to quality education and training, promoting equal opportunities and stimulating adult participation in lifelong learning, including skills needed for the green transition. 
  • fair tax-benefit and social protection systems, providing targeted and temporary direct income support where necessary, considering innovative transition schemes and ensuring fair adaptation to climate change.
  • access to affordable essential services, such as energy and transport, and housing, mobilising public and private investments. 
  • the coordination of policy-making, a whole-of-society approach that involves social partners, civil society, regional and local authorities, as well as the strengthening of data and evidence.
  • optimal use of public and private funding. 

In the context of the war in Ukraine, the Recovery and Resilience Facility is at the heart of the REPowerEU Plan. As outlined by the Commission, Member States are encouraged to pursue relevant reforms and investments, including certain measures to ensure a fair transition as outlined in the Council Recommendation adopted today, when developing their national REPowerEU chapters under the RRF, for instance to accelerate the requalification of the workforce towards green skills and to promote the creation of quality jobs in renewable energy production.

As next steps, Member States are expected to implement the recommendations according to their national circumstances.

The Commission, in close cooperation with Member States, will monitor the implementation in the context of the European Semester as appropriate, the framework for coordinating economic and social policies across the EU. It will also consider the guidance in the context of the Energy Union and Climate Action Governance framework.

In addition, the Commission will pursue more and deeper exchanges with key stakeholders, people and communities concerned, with a focus on the most affected sectors and regions. It will further support data collection, analysis and foresight, for instance on energy and transport poverty as well as ‘green jobs’, in cooperation with Member States.

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