ETUC response to EIB fossil fuel disinvestment: change must be fair to workers

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) welcomes the decision by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to phase out lending to fossil fuel projects – and stresses that affected workers and regions must be properly supported.

The board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that the institution will phase out lending for almost all fossil-fuel projects after 2021.

The agreement contains specific exemptions for certain low-emission gas projects, at the condition that they meet a new, lower emissions, performance standard. The agreement also mentions a few specific measures and exemptions to support countries and regions that are at the moment highly reliant on carbon-intensive energy sources and that will have to massively reduce their GHG emissions in a short period of time (full EIB statement available here).

ETUC Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet, responsible for climate and energy policy, said:

“The ETUC has called for the phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies so we welcome the decision from the EIB as a positive step towards achieving climate objectives that are in line with the scientific recommendations from the International Panel on Climate Change.  

“This decision will though inevitably affect many workers across the EU and we must make sure that this change is part of a socially just transition. The EIB decision will need to be accompanied by EU solidarity mechanisms for the regions and sectors most affected, social protections for workers involved and ambitious investment plans to guarantee the diversification of economic activities in the affected regions.”

For more information, please find here ETUC’s key demands to build a Just Transition and boost climate action as well as ETUC’s recommendations for an inclusive European Green Deal.