(Source: European Commission)
Thanks to the first Just Transition Fund (JTF) Programme adopted by the Commission today, Greece will mobilise a total investment of €1.63 billion to alleviate the impact of the energy and climate transition on the local economy and society. The Greek plan will benefit from grants amounting to €1.38 billion from the JTF.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “The urgency of Europe’s clean energy transition has drastically increased following Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine. We need to turn the page on fossil fuels faster than previously expected and protect vulnerable groups from unaffordable energy bills by accelerating the rollout of renewables. In light of high energy prices, the risk of further increasing disparities is real. As the first Member State to finalize its just transition plan, Greece will now receive extra support to develop a green, inclusive and resilient economy with decent jobs for all. Good news for Greece, its regions, and all its citizens!”.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I am glad to see such a strong commitment towards to Cohesion Policy and to the green and energy transition in Greece. After being the first Member State to see its 2021-2027 Partnership Agreement approved, Greece is again the first country to have its Just Transition Fund Programme and plans adopted. Greece is fast-moving towards a green and fair growth for all.”
In the territories most affected by the energy and climate transition, the Programme will support de-carbonisation in Western Macedonia, Megalopolis and adjacent municipalities, and the phasing out of fossil fuel power stations in the islands of North-South Aegean and Crete. The JTF support will foster the diversification and modernization of the economy, including the creation of new jobs and the upskilling and reskilling of people affected by the transition.
Just over half of the funds will support entrepreneurship through the financing of existing and new enterprises, of business infrastructure, and of stronger links between companies and research and innovation.
Another large part of the funds (20.4% of the total) will strengthen human resources and the skills of the workforce in the affected areas (skilling-upskilling-reskilling) and promote employment. The JTF support will also target energy transition, land use adaptation and the circular economy (energy upgrades, strengthening self-production through energy communities, renewable energy sources, e-mobility, and energy storage systems).
Two operations of strategic importance are also part of the Programme:
- the ‘Innovation Zone’ of Western Macedonia, an umbrella body for the development of infrastructure and actions for innovative entrepreneurship;
- the ‘Bioeconomy 360° Hub’ in the Municipalities of Megalopolis, Gortynia, Oichalia and Tripoli), aims at transforming business activity in the full range of the bioeconomy value chain (agri-food, circular and digital economy).
The JTF supports the territories most affected by the transition towards a climate-neutral economy. The identification of these territories is specified in Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) and it is carried out through a dialogue with the Commission in the framework of the negotiations of the 2021-2027 Partnership Agreements and the associated programmes. The TJTPs, developed in close consultation with local partners, set out the challenges in each territory, as well as the development needs and objectives to be met by 2030. They also identify the types of operations envisaged along with specific governance mechanisms.
The approval of TJTPs opens the door to dedicated financing under the other two pillars of the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM): a just transition scheme under InvestEU and a Public Sector Loan Facility for Just Transition that combines Commission grants with European Investment Bank loans.
The JTM is a key tool to ensure that the transition towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind. It provides targeted support to help mobilise around €55 billion over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the transition.
The Commission approved the Partnership Agreement with Greece in July 2021, the first to be approved among the 27 Member States. The agreement includes significant investments – 30% of the European Regional Development Fund and 55% of the Cohesion Fund – in energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Besides the JTF Programme, two other Cohesion Policy programmes linked to the Partnership Agreement are also approved: the ‘Competitiveness Programme’ and the ‘Civil Protection Programme’.
Upon request by the Greek Authorities, the Commission provided tailor-made technical expertise for the preparation of the TJTPs in terms of capacity building for its effective delivery and in the design of its governance system. The support was provided by the Technical Support Instrument under DG REFORM.