The Regional Development Committee approved the establishment of the Just Transition Fund (JTF) with a significant increase in the budget.
The scope of the Just Transition Fund focuses specifically on social cohesion and leading to job creation. The activities supported by the fund will also include microenterprises, sustainable tourism, social infrastructure, universities and public research institutions, energy storage technologies, low-emission district heating, smart and sustainable mobility, digital innovation, including digital and precision farming, projects fighting energy poverty, as well as culture, education and community building.
For regions heavily reliant on the extraction and combustion of coal, lignite, oil shale or peat, MEPs propose a derogation for investments in activities related to natural gas. In this sense, the Commission may approve Territorial Just Transition Plans that include such activities if they qualify as “environmentally sustainable” in accordance with the Taxonomy Regulation and comply with six additional cumulative conditions.
The budget for Just Transition Fund will be allocated from the 2021-2027 financial framework (EUR 25 358 532 750 in 2018 prices), which will be supplemented with an additional EUR 32 803 000 000 in current prices, as proposed under the EU Recovery Instrument.
Green Rewarding Mechanism
The creation of mechanism allows 18% of the total JTF resources to be allocated depending on the speed with which member states reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, divided by their latest average gross national income. Additionally, 1% of the total amounts would be specifically allocated for islands, and 1% for the outermost regions. JTF is designed to support the most vulnerable communities in each region, thus MEPs call for a co-financing rate of up to 85% of costs for eligible projects.
The European Parliament plenary is expected to vote on the draft report and give the mandate for inter-institutional negotiations during its September sitting.