While the EU is increasing its ambitions under the ‘Fit for 55’ package, Europe's coal regions in transition are facing unprecedented structural change, exacerbated by the major energy crisis resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the damage caused by the COVID -19 pandemic.
The webinar took place in the context of the EESC Thematic Study Group on Energy, in cooperation with the EESC INT Section. It concentrated on the main clean energy sources and the impact of the current transition to a carbon-neutral economy on the markets and on society.
CANCELLED / Round Table "Just Transition Fund: Transition Challenges from the de-lignitisation in Western Macedonia" organised on 30-31 March 2020 in the Region of Western Macedonia (Ptolemaida) in Greece.
While the environmental benefits of the transition to low-carbon energy supply systems have been widely discussed, economic effects have only been touched upon in a piecemeal fashion, e.g. through employment in the renewable energy sector, the increasing cost competitiveness of energy from renewable sources, or the rise of energy poverty. In particular, it remains unclear how the economies of Europe's diverse regions are affected by the shift to decentralised, low-carbon energy supply. As recent political initiatives in relation to coal regions and islands however show, Europe's energy transition has a distinctively regional dimension. The EESC is currently working on an own-initiative opinion on "The effects of a new carbon-free, decentralised and digitalized energy supply structure on jobs and regional economies". In this opinion, it seeks to take stock of existing economic analyses on the regional effects and develop an assessment framework.
In November 2017, the European Commission released its third report on the State of the Energy Union. The Commission’s overall assessment of progress towards achieving the goals of the Energy Union is positive but it recognises that much still needs to be done. In particular, it promises 2018 to be a Year of Engagement, ensuring that citizens and civil society are mobilised and take full ownership of Europe’s energy transition. The EESC has previously highlighted a number of challenges in realising the Commission's vision of putting the citizen at the heart of the Energy Union and the progress made in this respect.
This public hearing therefore pursues two overarching goals, namely to hear how civil society organisations and experts assess the State of the Energy Union and to explore opportunities to improve economic and political ownership of the Energy Union by citizens and civil society.