What hope that austerity can save the climate by 2030?

Brussels, 28/03/2013

Already back in 2006, the Commission began their earlier Green Paper on energy policy with the following sentence: “There is an urgent need for investment.” The same document identified “Energy for growth and jobs in Europe” as the first of six priority areas.

Seven years later, with the EU in the midst of a social and economic catastrophe, the ETUC notes with regret that instead of proposing a recovery policy based on ambitious targets linked to a long term investment plan, the Green Paper sets the frame for a timid debate on how to slightly fine tune the existing framework. Yesterday’s Green Paper takes stock of the current policy framework and identifies four key issues: “Targets”, “Coherence of policy instruments”, “Fostering the competitiveness of the EU economy”, and “Acknowledging the differing capacity of Member States”.

In today’s context with over 26 million unemployed, we expected the Commission to put jobs at the core of the EU’s decarbonisation strategy, through investments in energy efficiency, low carbon industrial policies and active social engagement and dialogue”, stated ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol. “While the link between specific targets and sectoral job creation is mentioned occasionally, we are far from the master plan needed to properly address the many labour challenges linked to the decarbonisation of the economy”.

Rather than any attention on organising the just transition towards a low-carbon economy”, she continued, “the Commission has focused entirely on a very narrow definition of competitiveness. This is short-term thinking in an area which needs a long term strategy”.

The ETUC is preparing its detailed response to the consultation.