The role of NGOs in Just Transition in Greece and Europe

Nikos Mantzaris gave a presentation on the role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Just Transition of lignite regions to the post-lignite era at the 6th Regional Conference “Move.Link.Engage: Partnership, Solidarity and Responsibilityin the Post-COVID 19th Era” organized in September 21-23 by the Belgrade Open School (BOS) with the support of the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade.

The Green Tank’s senior policy analyst participated as a speaker in an online panel entitled “Development beyond coal: Utilising partnerships for achieving local sustainable development and just energy transition in coal-reliant communities” with the Director of the Directorate General of Energy (DG ENER) of the European Commission and Policy Coordinator of the EU Coal Regions in Transition platform Anna Sobczak and Petar Đukić, Professor of Technology and Metallurgy at the University of Belgrade.

Nikos Mantzaris first gave a brief description of the role of lignite in Greece and the conditions that led to the decision to phase out its use by 2028. He then described the NGOs ‘documentation work on the need for Greece to transition to the post-lignite era and presented the main elements of the NGOs’ proposals for the transformation of local economies in lignite regions. He referred extensively to the cooperation of NGOs with local stakeholders and mayors for the establishment of the National Just Transition Fund using EU-ETS revenue, as well as to the support NGOs offer to the mayors in their participation in the EC’s Coal Regions in Transition platform and the establishment of the pan-european Forum of Just Transition Mayors. He also described the role of NGOs in establishing the European Just Transition Fund from the reform of the EU-ETS Directive in 2015-2017 to the Regulation for the Just Transition Fund, currently being negotiated between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. In the discussion that followed and answering relevant questions, Nikos Mantzaris had the opportunity to analyze the special features and comparative advantages of the region of Western Macedonia in Greece and present the main positions of NGOs around the Regulation on the European Just Transition Fund.