Henrike Hahn, Member of the European Parliament (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), industrial policy spokesperson and rapporteur for the opinion on establishing a Social Climate Fund in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), comments on today's plenary debate in Strasbourg and tomorrow's vote on the Parliament's position on the Social Climate Fund as part of the EU's Fit for 55 package:
"A green transformation of the economy must be socially just. The Social Climate Fund is now tackling energy and mobility poverty with structural and direct investments - exactly where people in Europe are hurt the most. This will also be necessary if the emissions trading system is extended to the building and transport sectors, as proposed by the European Commission.
With the Social Climate Fund, we have now got a clear definition of energy and mobility poverty for the first time, and detailed Social Climate Plans at member state level. We want to put the largest share of the fund into structural investments, in line with the relevant taxonomy criteria. Climate justice, green industrial policy and social justice have to go hand in hand. Only in this way can we achieve the best for the climate and the people of Europe."
Background: The Social Climate Fund - what is it about?
The first ever EU Social Climate Fund will support EU citizens to pay for their energy bills and transport, as costs continue to rise due to climate change. The Fund is particularly for the most vulnerable households affected by energy poverty and individuals affected by transport poverty. The Fund is a safeguard to make sure that no-one is left behind during the necessary transition towards climate neutrality in 2050. The money in the Social Climate Fund will be raised through the Emission Trading System (ETS).
Key Green demands:
The Social Climate Fund is the first EU tool to tackle energy and transport poverty. It should monitor the evolution of energy and transport poverty in the EU and provide financial support to those affected. It could, for example, be used for the deep renovation of buildings, free access to public transport or shared mobility services towards a future free from fossil fuels
Tomorrow, the plenary will vote on the Parliament's position in first reading.
🚨 Amendment Watch – key Amendments 166, 197, 168 – joint vote
Before the final reports are voted on, political groups in the European Parliament have a chance to make changes or ‘amendments’ to the text.
The EPP and S&D want to extend the scope of the Fund to SMEs. This would mean less money for those most in needs, such as people in energy and mobility poverty and vulnerable micro-enterprises. While we support SMEs in general, there are already substantial EU funds to support them. (Key Amendments 166, 197, 168 – joint vote).
The Social Climate Fund is supposed to support the most vulnerable people across Europe. The conservative European People’s Party (EPP) wants small and medium sized businesses to be able to access money from the fund (amendment 166), even though there is plenty of EU money already available to them. In practice, this will mean less money for vulnerable people in energy and transport poverty.
My team and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.