just-transition.info has asked all groups in the European Parliament for their position on Just Transition.
We will publish these responses in the order we get them (whether the groupings reply or not is also a sign of how much they care about a Just Transition).
Today, the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL). The office of MEP Cornelia Ernst answered in the name of the group.
JT: Is Just Transition a priority for your group?
GUE/NGL: Yes, Just Transition is a priority for our group. Members of the European Parliament in GUE/NGL coming from coal regions in countries like Spain and Germany (MEP Cornelia Ernst comes from Saxony, a region in Germany where Lusatia is situated, with a lot of coal mining activities) are interested in advancing Just Transition. We organised in December 2016, November and December 2017 conferences and workshops on Just Transition.
We think we need to align with trade unions and the climate justice organisations to phase out coal and to create alternative employment for the affected workers in the coal sector. On 20 October 2018, we will organise the next conference on Just Transition in Rheinisches Revier, another coal region in Germany.
JT: What measures would you like see taken at the European level in order to promote Just Transition?
GUE/ NGL: Measures to be taken: upgrade of skills of workers, more funding for research in the renewable energy sector, make sure that all workers and unemployed workers have access to the social protection system, make sure – with funding from European regional development fund and European social fund – that the transition to renewable energy and the support for other alternative sectors is supported.
JT: Do you support more money from the next EU Budget being used specifically to promote/ assist with Just Transition?
GUE/NGL: Yes, we support more money from the next EU budget to be used to promote Just Transition. Either by a special “Just Transition Fund” or by more funding from the European regional development fund.
JT: Are you happy with the work so far of the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition?
GUE/NGL: We appreciate the work of the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition but have heard that some Member States submitted project proposals to the Platform which will benefit the coal industry. This we strongly criticise.
Photo from Flicker by user Alejandro Arango.