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1st Mar 2024

Poland and Germany get most from Green transition fund

  • Despite Warsaw's refusal to commit to the 2050 emissions-neutrality goal, Poland would receive the upper limit of the fund - fixed at €2bn (Photo: Bert Kaufmann)

Poland and Germany will receive the largest funding slice of the €7.5bn Just Transition Fund, according to a proposal sent by the European Commission to member states on Wednesday (15 January).

The long-awaited fund aims to mobilise €100bn between 2021 and 2027 to help coal-producing regions to move away from fossil fuels - especially those dependent on coal, lignite, peat or oil shale.

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However, the Just Transition Fund and the whole investment plan of the commission depend on the the ongoing negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which might not give the green light to the numbers presented by the commission, since this will require member states to raise their national contributions.

Despite Warsaw's refusal to commit to the 2050 emissions-neutrality goal, Poland would receive the upper limit of the fund, fixed at €2bn, while Germany is set to enjoy €877m.

Romania (€757m) and the Czech Republic (€581m) will also benefit the most from this new fund.

However, according to Greenpeace climate and energy adviser Sebastian Mang, "if this funding is meant to promote a green transition, it must only be available to governments that are committed to that transition and have a clear plan to ditch coal".

"If they want the cash, the likes of Poland and the Czech Republic will have to prove they are serious about tackling the climate emergency," he added.

France, which has been advocating for the EU to consider nuclear energy as "sustainable", could also get €402m from the fund - more than Spain (€307m) or Italy (€364m).

However, the transition fund explicitly excludes any support for fossil fuels - including financing the construction of nuclear plants.

Bulgaria and Greece, which are also fossil fuel-dependent regions with a high number of jobs in the coal sector (mines and power plants), will receive €458m and €294m respectively.

Luxembourg will enjoy the smallest portion of the fund (€4m), while the UK is not included in the calculation - as it is expected to leave the EU on 31 January.

"We will support our people and our regions that need to make bigger efforts in this transformation, to make sure that we leave no one behind," EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs on Tuesday after she announced the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, which aims to generate at least €1 trillion of investment.

According to the commission, the allocation method is based on economic (greenhouse gas emissions, production of peat, production of oil shale), social criteria (employment in coal and carbon-intensive regions) and the GNI per capita.

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