The European Commission’s Green Deal Industrial Plan and Net Zero Act, both introduced at the beginning of 2023, aim to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and carbon-neutral economy in the European Union.
The Green Deal Industrial Plan, released in February, focuses on promoting clean technologies and sustainable practices across key industries, including energy, transport, and construction. The plan includes measures to support research and innovation, facilitate investment in green technologies, and promote sustainable production and consumption.
The Plan is composed of four key pillars:
Building a simpler regulatory framework
This includes developing a simpler, faster, and more predictable framework, securing raw material volumes, and ensuring users can benefit from renewables’ low costs. This work is supported by three initiatives.
Speeding up investment and financing for clean tech production in Europe
The Commission will also make it easier to use existing EU funds to fund clean tech innovation, manufacturing, and deployment, with a particular emphasis on REPowerEU, InvestEU, and the Innovation Fund. The Commission will also consider establishing the European Sovereignty Fund as a mid-term structural solution to the investment needs.
Developing the skills needed for well-paid quality jobs will be a priority for the European Year of Skills.
The Commission will:
propose the establishment of Net-Zero Industry Academies to aid in the implementation of up-skilling and re-skilling programs in strategic industries
Consider how to combine a ‘Skills-first’ approach that recognizes actual skills with existing qualifications-based approaches.
Examine how to make it easier for third-country nationals to enter EU labour markets in priority sectors.
Look into ways to encourage and align public and private funding for skill development.
Making trade work for the green transition, under the principles of fair competition and open trade, builds on the engagements with the EU’s partners and the work of the World Trade Organization.
The Net Zero Act, which together with the Critical Raw Materials Act is part of the first pillar of the Green Deal Industrial Plan, sets a target for the EU to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The act includes a range of measures to reduce emissions, including increasing the use of renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency, and phasing out the use of fossil fuels.
Together, these initiatives represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the environmental challenges facing the EU. By promoting sustainable practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the EU aims to lead the way in the transition to a more sustainable and equitable future.
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EU Affairs Senior Specialist