European Interest

EU moves away from fossil fuels

Flickr/UniversityBlogSpot/CC BY 2.0
A coal fired power station in the Midlands, England.

The European Union is building on its commitment to make a clean energy transition, leaving behind an economy driven by fossil fuels.

The Coal Regions in Transition Platform was launched on December 11 to facilitate the development of projects and long-term strategies in coal regions, with the aim of kick-starting the transition process and responding to environmental and social challenges.

According to a European Commission press release, it will bring together EU, national, regional and local stakeholders involved in the transition to help them foster partnerships and learn from each other’s experiences. The new platform’s activities will initially focus on coal regions, with the aim to expand to carbon-intensive regions in the future.

It is designed to boost the clean energy transition by bringing more focus to social fairness, structural transformation, new skills and financing for the real economy.

The new platform was officially launched by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy as well as representatives of European regions, different stakeholders and business leaders.

The launch takes place on the eve of the “One Planet Summit” convened by the French President Emmanuel Macron to mark the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate.

At the summit, the Commission will reconfirm its commitment for a forward-looking climate policy and show that the EU is leading the fight against climate change by example and through action. The new Platform is one of the key accompanying actions part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package (IP/16/4009) launched in November 2016.

“The challenges facing the EU coal regions can only be addressed in partnership with all actors on the ground,” said Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič. “The Energy Union is the right framework for this. We want to work closely with national, regional and local stakeholders in support of the structural transformation, using tailor-made solutions and all means at hand. Our objective is to see every region reaping the benefits of the clean energy transition, whilst creating new jobs and promoting investment in new technologies.”

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added: “Governments, business and regions all around the world are moving beyond coal. Electricity generation from coal is declining. This is an irreversible trend towards clean power, also here in Europe.”

He also stressed that all Europeans should benefit from this transition, and no region should be left behind when moving away fossil fuels.

“This initiative will help European countries, regions, communities and workers to the take on the challenge of the required economic diversification of the clean energy transition.”

According to Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu, working together for a better common future is what the European Union and Cohesion policy are about. “Our message to coal regions today is that the European Commission takes concrete actions to help them achieve a smooth transition towards a modern, sustainable and successful economy that leaves nobody behind”.

Explore more