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The targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 55 % below 1990 levels by 2030 and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 have been enshrined in the European Climate Law. The Commission has now presented its “Fit for 55” package, outlining which concrete measures will be taken to accomplish these targets. Comprising of no fewer than eight Regulations, five Directives, two Communications and two Decisions, this package covers important sectors, which are needed to achieve climate neutrality.

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There is no alternative to the fight against climate change. Global warming and the destruction of the environment endanger our natural livelihoods at an unparalleled speed. For Europe to achieve the trend reversal, one also needs a reform of the European state aid policy for renewable energies and climate protection measures. The European Commission has now launched a Consultation on exactly these aid guidelines.

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By now, the majority of Member States have submitted their national plans, disclosing their intentions as to how they want to invest the monies from the EU’s Recovery Fund. Itt is not only Austria having a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the recovery’s social dimension. Hence, AK EUROPA, together with 20 other organisations is calling upon EU Finance Ministers to adopt a socially just and environmentally sustainable course out of the crisis. Everybody will be able to sign the petition until 14 June 2021.

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The Austrian Chamber of Labour in principle welcomes the reduction goals set out in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which include a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050.

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Gregor Lahounik

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On 9 December 2020, the European Commission presented its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which specifies the contribution the transport sector should make to achieving the Green Deal.

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On 5th May 2021, the Commission presented its updated Industrial Strategy. The strategy not only affirms the current priorities, which were stipulated the year before, but also specifies new proposals to support SMEs. Together with the Industrial Strategy, the Commission has presented a proposal for a regulation on subsidies for third-countries, which distort the Internal Market.

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A survey by Chamber of Labour Vienna and University of Vienna on the consumer behaviour of the Austrian population shows: consumers want to use their household appliances longer and they want the option to have them repaired rather than having to throw them away.

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Mit dem Grünen Deal soll Europa bis 2050 der weltweit erste klimaneutrale Kontinent werden. Das erfordert einen grundlegenden Wandel unseres Wirtschaftssystems. Die AK kämpft dafür, dass dieser Übergang zur Klimaneu­tralität sozial gerecht gestaltet wird und nicht zu Lasten der ArbeitnehmerInnen geht. Im Kern geht es um die gewerkschaftliche Forderung nach einer „Just Transition“ – einem sozial gerechten Übergang.

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Norbert Templ

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Peter Hilpold

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The European Commission has published the Communication on the “EU Renovation Wave” to ensure that the building sector too makes its contribution to achieving the Green Deal. The Austrian Chamber of Labour has scrutinised the Communication and reached the conclusion that many of the planned strategies are to be welcomed; however, a socially balanced implementation has to be ensured and the fight against energy poverty must be at the forefront.

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In December 2020, the EU institutions agreed on a 750 billion euros stimulus package to finance the recovery after the Covid-19 crisis. Now the question has arisen, which projects are to be funded with this money. Together with 15 other organisations, AK EUROPA is now urging the EU Finance Ministers: Europe must seize this chance to build a bridge to a new economy that is sustainable, resilient, and guarantees better living standards for everyone!