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Civil Society Urges EU to Commit 40% of Upcoming Budget to Job Creation, Green Economy

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), a civil society advisory body to the EU with strong representation from Polish trade unions, is urging European policy-makers to commit 40% of their 2021-2027 budget to creating high-quality jobs within a thriving low-carbon economy.

The EU executive is already proposing 25% dedicated funding, up from 20% in its last budget, Euractiv reports. The EESC’s more ambitious target “was adopted in the wake of a landmark IPCC report which showed that warming beyond 1.5°C will unleash a frightening set of consequences that can only be avoided with an in-depth global economic and social transformation.”

The 40% target will require mobilization of “more than a trillion Euros (€1,115 billion) over the 2021-2027 period,” Euractiv writes, citing EESC rapporteur Rudy de Leeuw.

De Leeuw told reporters the EESC envisions carbon prices increasing “little by little,” but declined to comment on “whether the issue was a contested one during the preparation of the EESC’s opinion,” Euractiv states. The publication notes that the EESC membership includes three Polish union federations, and that “according to figures from the Polish think tank Forum Energii, coal represents 78.4% of the energy mix in Poland.”

De Leeuw focused his comments on climate justice, stressing that “the aim of the EESC’s finance-climate pact is to redirect into the real economy the vast amounts of money currently flowing into financial bubbles,” Euractiv states. While the pact is “about creating high-quality jobs,” it is also designed to ensure that “a new job is created each time one is being suppressed,” so that workers who lose their jobs in the transition to a low-carbon economy are retrained and re-employed.