The Brief: funding Europe's green ambitions

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By Stefan Grobe
The Brief: funding Europe's green ambitions
Copyright  Euronews

Making a Green Deal with Europe's economy - the European Commission has unveiled the "Just Transition Fund" as an essential part of its ambitious programme to fight climate change.

The Fund, worth 7.5 billion euros, should help countries kick their coal habit.

Over all, the EU aims at spending a trillion million (12 zeros) euros to shift the bloc's economy to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Commission's plan consists of aggressively re-designing Europe's transport and energy sectors, including energy-efficient housing and re-skilling programmes for workers in polluting industries.

"I think it's a crucial instrument because the Green Deal will have a very strong impact in certain regions, that's for sure. Those regions that depend completely, or almost completely on coal, or very carbon-intensive industries. We needed an instrument that would help these regions to make the transition without major social economic costs," Elisa Ferreira, European Cohesion Commissioner told Euronews.

One of the countries that cannot shoulder the transition costs alone, is Poland.

For Polish politicians, the Green Deal is a very long-term project.

"We need for that (the transition) one, two decades, because it is impossible to do it, you know, in a few years, as we have got almost 80 percent of electricity generation from coal," Jerzy Buzek (MEP, EPP, Poland) remarked.

But there are doubters those who suspect that some of the massive funds will ultimately not lead to meaningful change.

"We have already one doubt, namely that it (the transition fund) doesn't really seem to be linked to a transition. While, of course, the whole point about the transition plan is that it helps regions in transition. But if it's not linked to a transition, then where is the point?" explains Ska Keller (MEP, Greens, Germany).

And there is the controversial issue of nuclear technology. Some countries like France praise atomic power as a clean energy source. Others like Germany and Austria are opposed to nuclear energy being painted as "green".