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Just Transition Fund

20-09-2021

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and high-emission industries. As part of the European Green Deal, on 14 January 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to create the Just Transition Fund, aimed at supporting EU regions most affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. In the context of recovery from the coronavirus ...

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and high-emission industries. As part of the European Green Deal, on 14 January 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to create the Just Transition Fund, aimed at supporting EU regions most affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. In the context of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, an amended proposal on the Just Transition Fund (JTF) was published on 28 May 2020. The JTF is set to have a budget of €17.5 billion (€7.5 billion from the core EU budget under the Multiannual Financial Framework and €10 billion from the Next Generation EU instrument, in 2018 prices). Funding will be available to all Member States, while focusing on regions with the biggest transition challenges. The budget for the Just Transition Fund may be complemented with resources from cohesion policy funds and national co financing. The Fund will be part of a Just Transition Mechanism, which also includes resources under InvestEU and a public-sector loan facility. In the European Parliament, the file was entrusted to the Committee on Regional Development (REGI). A provisional political agreement was reached in trilogue on 9 December 2020, with the Parliament adopting the draft regulation on 18 May 2021. The final act was published in the Official Journal on 30 June 2021. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

EU climate action policy: Responding to the global emergency

18-03-2021

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate ...

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate policies, it outlines international climate agreements, EU climate action and the climate policies of major economies. It assesses the coherence of EU climate policy with other policy areas, and presents the financing of EU climate action through the EU budget and other instruments. To assess the implications of the climate neutrality objective, the study analysis the challenges and opportunities for the EU economy and its impacts on issues such as international relations, migration, trade, consumers and health . The final chapter addresses the issues facing European decision-makers and the outlook for European and global climate action in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

Living in the EU: Circular economy

16-03-2021

Circular economy is a production and consumption model that involves reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products to keep materials within the economy. It implies that waste becomes a resource, consequently minimising the actual amount of waste. The circular model is generally the antithesis of a traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a 'take-make-consume-throw away' pattern. This paper looks at the job creation potential and added value produced by ...

Circular economy is a production and consumption model that involves reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products to keep materials within the economy. It implies that waste becomes a resource, consequently minimising the actual amount of waste. The circular model is generally the antithesis of a traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a 'take-make-consume-throw away' pattern. This paper looks at the job creation potential and added value produced by the circular economy and illustrates the generation and treatment of waste in the EU.

Benefits of EU trade agreements for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

08-03-2021

This briefing discusses how free trade agreements (FTAs) can help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It provides an overview of the FTAs that the EU has concluded, along with a classification and a discussion of key provisions on and for SMEs. Several pioneering agreements are studied more closely, including the EU-Japan, EU-Canada, EU-Mercosur and EU-UK agreements. To conclude, the briefing assesses SME awareness of FTA chapters and analyses the related benefits.

This briefing discusses how free trade agreements (FTAs) can help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It provides an overview of the FTAs that the EU has concluded, along with a classification and a discussion of key provisions on and for SMEs. Several pioneering agreements are studied more closely, including the EU-Japan, EU-Canada, EU-Mercosur and EU-UK agreements. To conclude, the briefing assesses SME awareness of FTA chapters and analyses the related benefits.

Autore esterno

Thibo CLICTEUR, Frauke DE TEMMERMAN, Duy HUYNH-OLESEN, Katrien NUYTS

Education and the New European Bauhaus

05-03-2021

The New European Bauhaus initiative is a vast cooperation project combining sustainability with wellbeing. Inspired by a design movement that was the offshoot of an educational project, the Commission's initiative is intended to address contemporary and future ecological, economic and societal concerns. Education and lifelong learning are central to equipping current and future citizens with a deep understanding of the issues, critical thinking and skills necessary to bring about change.

The New European Bauhaus initiative is a vast cooperation project combining sustainability with wellbeing. Inspired by a design movement that was the offshoot of an educational project, the Commission's initiative is intended to address contemporary and future ecological, economic and societal concerns. Education and lifelong learning are central to equipping current and future citizens with a deep understanding of the issues, critical thinking and skills necessary to bring about change.

The future of regional airports: Challenges and opportunities

26-02-2021

Regional airports are an important part of the aviation system in the European Union (EU). They are engines of socio-economic development and improve accessibility to certain locations, in particular those that are remote or not well served by other forms of transportation. They also have a vital role in terms of economic and social cohesion, stimulating tourism and employment, as well as facilitating access to essential services. In addition, they can help to reduce congestion at major hub airports ...

Regional airports are an important part of the aviation system in the European Union (EU). They are engines of socio-economic development and improve accessibility to certain locations, in particular those that are remote or not well served by other forms of transportation. They also have a vital role in terms of economic and social cohesion, stimulating tourism and employment, as well as facilitating access to essential services. In addition, they can help to reduce congestion at major hub airports. The Covid 19 pandemic has hit regional airports hard, especially those more dependent on passenger traffic, which has been more severely hit than cargo traffic. The situation is so difficult that without government support, many regional airports, which serve local communities, face the risk of insolvency. Meanwhile, the pandemic is putting airports under pressure to become more digital. Moreover, a greater focus on tackling climate change is driving various projects to make airports more sustainable. The recovery from the crisis is likely to take several years. It will depend on several factors, such as the duration and magnitude of the crisis, pace of vaccination and consumer confidence. The speed with which the economy recovers will also affect how long the recovery of air travel will take. All this requires support. The EU has taken steps to ensure that Member States can make full use of the flexibility allowed under State aid rules, to provide regional airports with support to overcome this unprecedented crisis. Since March 2020, the European Commission has approved numerous State aid schemes from which regional airports can benefit. The EU can also support airports through its Recovery and Resilience Facility, which aims at making Europe more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.

Carbon dioxide removal: Nature-based and technological solutions

23-02-2021

As a party to the Paris Agreement, the European Union has committed to implementing climate mitigation policies to keep the average temperature rise to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Meeting the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C requires bringing the level of global net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by around 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Following this scientific consensus, the European Commission presented in 2019 the European ...

As a party to the Paris Agreement, the European Union has committed to implementing climate mitigation policies to keep the average temperature rise to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Meeting the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C requires bringing the level of global net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by around 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Following this scientific consensus, the European Commission presented in 2019 the European Green Deal as the strategy towards a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, and proposed a European climate law in 2020 to make this target legally binding. The IPCC scenarios consistent with limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C show that removing CO2 from the atmosphere is essential and complements the implementation of emissions reduction policies. In line with this, the European science academies recommend prioritising deep emissions cuts, but also to start developing a portfolio of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) options immediately. Various options are being discussed in light of the growing consensus that meeting the established targets is dependent on CDR. These range from nature-based practices – such as forestation, soil carbon sequestration and wetland restoration – to technological alternatives such as enhanced weathering, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture and storage. Nature-based solutions stand out as more cost-effective and viable in the short run, while some technological alternatives have potential to become more relevant later this century. The European Commission recognises the crucial role of CDR, and intends to focus on nature-based options. An extensive revision of the EU climate mitigation legislation, planned for 2021, will provide an opportunity to set a regulatory framework for CDR. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for prioritising emissions reductions over CDR, and stressed the importance of conserving biodiversity and enhancing natural sinks and reservoirs. Its position on the proposed European climate law involves removing GHGs that exceed manmade emissions in the EU and each Member State from 2051.

Nuovo piano d'azione per l'economia circolare

04-02-2021

Passare a un'economia circolare è fondamentale per realizzare le ambizioni dell'UE in materia di azione per il clima, protezione della natura e sostenibilità come pure per apportare vantaggi per l'innovazione, la crescita e l'occupazione. Durante la tornata di febbraio il Parlamento dovrebbe votare una relazione d'iniziativa sul piano proposto dalla Commissione per una maggiore circolarità.

Passare a un'economia circolare è fondamentale per realizzare le ambizioni dell'UE in materia di azione per il clima, protezione della natura e sostenibilità come pure per apportare vantaggi per l'innovazione, la crescita e l'occupazione. Durante la tornata di febbraio il Parlamento dovrebbe votare una relazione d'iniziativa sul piano proposto dalla Commissione per una maggiore circolarità.

Green and sustainable finance

04-02-2021

The dramatic consequences of climate change and environmental degradation have brought the need for a more sustainable economy to the top of the agenda. Transforming the EU economy to make it more sustainable requires large investments, especially for enabling a green and low-carbon transition. Given that the public sector alone cannot cover this financial need, solutions have been sought to bring the private sector on board. Green finance involves collecting funds for addressing climate and environmental ...

The dramatic consequences of climate change and environmental degradation have brought the need for a more sustainable economy to the top of the agenda. Transforming the EU economy to make it more sustainable requires large investments, especially for enabling a green and low-carbon transition. Given that the public sector alone cannot cover this financial need, solutions have been sought to bring the private sector on board. Green finance involves collecting funds for addressing climate and environmental issues (green financing), on the one hand, and improving the management of financial risk related to climate and the environment (greening finance), on the other. Sustainable finance is an evolution of green finance, as it takes into consideration environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and risks, with the aim of increasing long-term investments in sustainable economic activities and projects. The European Union is a global leader in the above domain. In its 2018 action plan on financing sustainable growth, the European Commission set out the EU strategy to connect finance with sustainability. The first deliverables have been three key regulations seeking to create a classification system to determine whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable (the 'taxonomy'); to make disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks clearer; and to establish low-carbon benchmarks. The Taxonomy Regulation is particularly important for driving the consistent development of future legislation, as advocated, in particular, by the European Parliament. The Commission will release a renewed sustainable finance strategy in 2021, and a legislative proposal on the green bond standard. The interest in green and sustainable finance is rising very fast among investors worldwide, and several voluntary private initiatives have tried to create some market standards. Policymakers have also been very active in launching numerous regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives at global or local level. To avoid market fragmentation, there is a demand for greater harmonisation among the different measures. There is also a need to increase the standardisation and disclosure of non-financial information published by companies and used to evaluate the risks. Doing so will help to increase data availability, to make data more comparable, and to bring more transparency and clarity to investors. Given that climate change and environmental degradation are global challenges, international cooperation is in the common interest; the European Union is actively promoting this through the International Platform on Sustainable Finance.

Non-financial Reporting Directive

28-01-2021

In line with the European Green Deal, a key element to foster sustainable growth and finance the green transition will be to channel funding in economic activities that contribute to environmental, social and governance-related objectives. Directive 2014/95/EU on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information (NFRD) has set the EU on a clear course towards greater business transparency and accountability on social and environmental issues. It helps to measure, monitor and manage companies ...

In line with the European Green Deal, a key element to foster sustainable growth and finance the green transition will be to channel funding in economic activities that contribute to environmental, social and governance-related objectives. Directive 2014/95/EU on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information (NFRD) has set the EU on a clear course towards greater business transparency and accountability on social and environmental issues. It helps to measure, monitor and manage companies' performance and their impact on society. However, as this briefing shows, the NFRD suffers from several deficiencies such as lack of comparability, reliability and relevance of non-financial information provided. The Commission therefore intends to review the NFRD in the first quarter of 2021.

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