Just transition – condicio sine qua non for the European Green Deal


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The subject of the extraordinary well attended edition of the ETUI Monthly forum on 21 January was the European Green Deal and just transition. As Philippe Pochet, ETUI’s General director, pointed out in his introduction, just transition has always been a key topic for the ETUI but in the new work programme it will be an overarching priority. However, the way we look at this issue has evolved, which is also why there is no question mark after the title of this year’s ETUI flagship conference taking place at the end of June – Towards a new socio-ecological contract.

Béla Galgóczi, Senior Researcher ETUI, presented his recently published edited volume “ Towards a just transition: coal, cars and the world of work”. According to him the fact that the climate emergency is recognised now is extremely positive, but there are still many questions that remained to be answered. What new resources are there and what does paradigm change really mean? “Every job will be affected, and a just transition approach is necessary”, he said. The coal jobs in the EU are concentrated in Poland and Germany, so the regional character of the issue needs to be recognized.  By now it is clear that the future is for electric cars but for this important labour transformations are needed. For the moment the popular SUVs are financing investments in electric cars which is not a sustainable business model. “Just transition in the coal sector is a regional policy, while automobile is more an industrial policy”, he summed up.  For the trade unions, which are used to manage change, it is different now, as they must drive change forward and at the same time manage the results.

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