EESC believes that there is a need to have a clear and structured view of which funds are targeted to tackle climate change and how they are managed. With an approved budget of over EUR 330 billion in the current programming period, cohesion policy is the largest and most important investment tool in Europe. As 30% of both the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will need to be spent on projects for decarbonising our economy, cohesion policy has a crucial role in tackling climate change. Moreover, funds will also be made available under NGEU, as the green transition is one of the main targets of recovery and resilience after COVID-19.
572nd Plenary session 21-22 September 2022 - Related Opinions
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The EESC believes that ensuring equal access to energy and the security of energy supply at affordable cost must be an absolute priority for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It calls for the establishment of a broad and ambitious political coalition to analyse and address energy poverty from a holistic approach with the objective of bringing it to a minimum level by 2030 and eliminating it altogether in the long term. The actions of the coalition should be further developed in an EU Strategy against energy poverty. The EESC urges the EU to promote a common approach to energy poverty that will allow for a tangible and shared understanding of energy poverty and the collection of statistical data, taking into account Member States' differences and particularities.
The adoption of the European Union Climate law has set an ambitious emission reduction target for 2030 while confirming the climate neutrality objective for 2050. According to the IPCC scenarios, keeping global warming below 1.5°C requires that global anthropogenic net emissions should be zero by around 2050. Secondly, meeting this goal requires the deployment of CDR, which can happen by means of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and removals in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector. The IPCC defines CDR as "anthropogenic activities removing CO2 from the atmosphere and durably storing it in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products".
The EESC points at the need to improve youth participation, tackling in particular the lack of youth democratic representation and the lack of a youth perspective outside of the traditional youth policy domain. The EU Youth Test should not substitute meaningful engagement with young people in general and should complement existing participatory mechanisms. It should be part of the Better Regulation Toolbox as a separate tool, since future generations and young people deserve specific attention. The EESC encourages the EU institutions and Member States to implement measures and mechanisms that ensure that the youth perspective is taken into account in every policy field. Suitable resources should be made available for meaningful youth participation in policy-making.
The consequences of the Russian military aggression have grown in scope and its impact has expanded. As a result, Member States are facing continuous substantial inflows of persons fleeing the Russian aggression. This situation comes on top of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, notably the disruption of value chains, which challenges public budgets that were focused on the recovery of the economy, but also risks delaying investments, especially in infrastructure.
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