The Green Deal will inevitably have consequences on the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based (MET) industries and the employment they provide.

To exchange on that impact, Ceemet invited Mette Quinn from the Commissions Directorate-General on Climate Action (DG CLIMA) at its last General Assembly.

‘Fit for 55’ Package and its aims

The ‘Fit for 55’ Package was the starting point of the discussion that is on top of the political agenda and crucial for industry. The Package consists of 13 (interconnected) legislative proposals aiming to deliver on the objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030.

Where the Package mixes methods as pricing, targets and taxes, support measures are foreseen by the creation of a Social Climate Fund, that will look at mitigating impacts for vulnerable groups, and an enhanced Modernisation and Innovation Funds which promotes innovation.

Support measures for the green transition

The European Commission wants a transition that is socially fair and competitive. Where the social part looks at tackling inequality and energy poverty as a result of climate action, the Commission aims to create new opportunities through industrial change. To achieve that industrial change investments must accelerate. Therefore resources of the Modernisation and Innovation Fund, that was already heavily solicited by companies from all sectors, will grow from currently €450 million to €600 million.

To keep all companies, and particularly SMEs, on board during the difficult transition the access to various funds needs to become easier. Ms Quinn recognised the need for a 1-stop-shop for businesses. Discussions in that direction will be held with the Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). Also Europe’s regions have the possibility to reduce administrative burdens to make funds more accessible as they set out the rules for the funds that fall under the National Recovery and Resilience Plans.

Employment measures to stem the twin transition

There is no doubt about the importance of having access to funding in order to make the green transition a success. Equally important are the support measures for employment.

Although the Commission is in a listening-mode to provide support with funding and legislation, it cannot hide that the implications on employment seems to have been overlooked. While the support measures for employment are not defined in the ‘Fit for 55’ Package, there is a Social Climate Fund…

It is only five months after the presentation of the Package, that the Commission published its proposal for a Council Recommendation on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality, which can be seen as a reply for the lacking focus on employment. The proposed Council Recommendation provides guidance to Member States on how to address the impact on employment and offers advice on the available funding opportunities that support companies through the transition.

The Commission recommends Member States to take measures and actions that:

  • support quality employment and facilitating job-to-job transitions
  • provide equal access to quality education and training
  • involve social partners when devising policy measures that address social and employment aspects of the green transition

Having the support measures for employment in place as quickly as possible is no superfluous luxury. Employers have their hands full as the impact of the green transition on employment comes at a time when companies are facing the changes coming forth from the digital transition.

It leaves employers to deal with all the consequences of the twin transition at the same time.