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In order to achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, the EU wants to use the Just Transition Fund to support those regions, which will be confronted with serious socio-economic challenges. Following the European Commission’s presentation of its proposal on 13 January 2020, the negotiations between European Parliament, Council and Commission have now, a year later, been successfully completed.

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The European Parliament (EP) has, within the scope of an Initiative Report, mapped out a number of demands, which are necessary to accomplish a socially just transition. Now it is up to European Commission and Council to implement the important measures to ensure that no one is left behind when implementing the Green Deal or during the course of the pandemic.

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The Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour (AK) supports the EU’s aim of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. However, AK believes that it is vital that the concerns of workers and the impact on employment and social cohesion are thoroughly examined and understood when developing policy, and that measures in this respect should be optimised to balance the social impact and be democratically justifiable.

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Christoph Streissler

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Exactly one year after introducing the Green Deal, the European Commission presented on 9 December 2020 the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. This Strategy outlines the path that the transport sector has to take to ensure the goal of a carbon neutral EU by 2050.

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If the EU wants to achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2050 and not jeopardise the implementation of the Green Deal, trade policy will also have to make a contribution. Afterall, international trade with its global net of value chains and long transport routes, increasingly adds to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.  

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Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis plans for EU trade policy to place more focus on the subject of sustainability. Apart from a future initiative at WTO level, a new EU complaint mechanism shall also lead to improvements. However, looking at the Commission’s past initiatives, expectations are rather low. a

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The Commission has launched a consultation on EU competition policy and its contribution to achieving the Green Deal. From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour, it is clear that competition law has to be oriented towards a socially just transition to a climate-friendly economic system. This is the only way to achieve broad acceptance for this comprehensive change, which involves all actors and stakeholders.

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On 13 November 2020, the Commission presented its new Consumer Agenda. In it, it introduced its vision as well as concrete plans for EU consumer policy from 2020 to 2025. This communication too focusses on more actions in respect of both green transition and digital transformation.

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Maria Burgstaller

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Iris Strutzmann

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Florian Wukovitsch

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Maria Burgstaller

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Henrike Schaum

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