Who says that the Europe does not listen?

Article by Nikos Mantzaris in “Proinos Logos Kozani” regarding the available resources for the Just Transition of Greece’s lignite regions on the occasion of the activation of the relevant resources of the Green Fund.

The article was published in “Proinos Logos Kozani” on May 29, 2020 in Greek with the title:

Nikos Mantzaris: “Who says that the Europe does not listen?”-“The polluter pays”

The translation of the original article follows.

*Transition stories *

On May 27, 2020, projects worth 31.4 million euros were approved by the Green Fund for the country’s lignite regions. These resources are exactly 6% of the public revenues that came from the auction of CO2 allowances which were allocated to Greece for 2018.

This idea was presented for the first time in the public debate in 2015, before the historic COP21 in Paris and more specifically in a special discussion on COP21 in the Environment Committee of the Greek Parliament on 18.11.2015.

You can see the relevant excerpt:

and here is the whole meeting of Environment Committee


None of what we said at that meeting was listened to then. Between 2015 and 2020, however, various things happened. The obstacles remained many. Only few people supported the request at first. Thanks to the political stubbornness and positive energy of Lefteris Ioannidis they became more.

Our joint proposal was finally adopted by the Alternate Minister of Environment and Energy Socrates Famellos in the context of the discussion on the law selling PPC’s lignite portfolio in May 2018. The relevant Joint Ministerial Decree was issued in April 2019, while yesterday, the current Minister of Environment and Energy Kostis Hatzidakis made the money of 2018 available to local economies through the Green Fund. And there are also about 30 million euros more from the 2019 CO2 auction that are earmarked for the same purpose.

4 years, 6 months and 9 days after the submission of the initial proposal. It was a marathon, not a 100 meter dash…

With this development, Greece becomes the first Member State in the EU to use CO2 auctioning revenues for just transition purposes, implementing the “polluter pays” principle for the benefit of lignite regions.

Who said we can’t take be leaders? Who said that the Greek state has (never) had continuity? Who said that the just demands of local communities are never adopted?

It was also announced yesterday that the total resources of the European Just Transition Fund will increase from 7.5 billion to 40 billion (more than fivefold), a request of practically all the Committees of the European Parliament that dealt with the relevant Regulation, as well as mayors of lignite regions such as Kozani, Florina and Arcadia.

From this amount Greece will receive *at least* 1.724 billion, of which about 1.3 billion without committing additional resources from the cohesion funds.

Who says that Europe does not listen?