The Green Deal is a first step, but more ambition is needed

The European Commission has presented parts of its European Green Deal, namely the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan and the Just Transition mechanism. The EU‘s own contribution to their funding is too low to be effective. To achieve a net-zero[1] and well-being oriented economy by 2050, the EU should increase its contribution and allocate the funds in a subsidiary way. The time for shying away from taking responsibility for own impacts are over – at all levels.

CEC European Managers expresses its disappointment with regards to the investment announcements in the framework of the European Green Deal. High per-capita emissions, global value chains and potential economic opportunities require the world’s largest economic bloc, the EU, to assume sustainable leadership and invest more. To build an innovative, biodiverse and socially cohesive future in Europe, it is important to responsibilise all private and public actors from the local to the European level. This includes abolishing fossil fuel subsidies in all EU27 member states, ensuring that European SMEs and local governments can access these funds and providing fund managers with the necessary sustainability skills. Globally, a unique emission trade system and more sustainable value chains should be pushed for.

Effective investments require adequate implementation

The subsidiarity principle is fundamental in ensuring an optimal allocation of the mobilised resources of both instruments. Since issues are best tackled where they arise, we now need to better support change-makers in the public and private sector. As far as the contribution from the private finance sector is concerned, the EU taxonomy will help to direct financial flows to sustainable activities. Urban areas for instance account to 60-80% of global energy consumption, as well as emissions. This should consequently be reflected in the investment priorities. From a practical point of view, the ongoing paradigm shift in investment needs to urgently be accompanied by professional management – only 17% of European managers are equipped with sustainable leadership skills, according to CEC’s recent report. That’s why CEC, one of the six European social partners, will highlight the need for Transition Skills in the upcoming new Skills Agenda for Europe.

The new Investment Plan is an opportunity to build on the EU’s own strengths in the domains of renewable energies, the circular economy, green tech, the sharing economy, the bioeconomy, the blue economy, the social economy, as well as in natural capital. With more ambition and through effective implementation, it could become an incentive to build a competitive advantage based on human needs. With the Just Transition mechanism, the European Commission rightly recognises that affected regions need support in re-skilling and ensuring the respect of social rights, as set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights. Social partners need to be actively involved in this process.

Background information

On 14 January 2020, the European Commission has presented its proposals for the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan and the Just Transition mechanism. The investment plan of 1 trillion Euro is composed by existing EU funds, national contributions and complementary private investments. The EU will contribute only 7,5 billion Euro of additional funds to the 100 billion Euro budget of the Just Transition mechanism.

Please find more information about the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan and the Just Transition mechanism on the website of the European Commission.

[1] Net-zero green house gas emissions