The Green Tank on the Greek Just Transition Development Programme

The Green Tank participated in the public consultation for the concept paper of the Greek Just Transition Development Programme (PDAM), submitting comments and specific recommendations.

According to the concept paper, the PDAM has a total budget of 1.6 billion euros for the 2021-2027 period, earmarked to cover the transition needs of the two lignite areas of Western Macedonia and Megalopolis, as well as those of the island regions of North Aegean, South Aegean and Crete.

Significant progress has been made in relation to the previous official texts related to the Just Transition, and in particular, the overall Just Transition Development Plan (SDAM) and the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs).

Progress is mainly observed in regards with the eligibility of specific investments in priority 2 (energy transition-climate neutrality) for funding from the programme such as:

  1. the partial coverage of the installation costs for energy community projects, while there was not even a single mention of the term “energy community” in either SDAM or the TJTPs;
  2. the eligibility of renewables-based heating projects for financing by PDAM, while practically all heating projects included in SDAM and the TJTPs are based on fossil gas;
  3. the eligibility of energy efficiency projects in transition regions, which, until now, were only funded through other national programmes, inadequate to cover the increased needs of lignite regions;
  4. the emphasis on financing energy storage infrastructure, which must however include all storage technologies (pump storage, batteries, thermal storage) and not just green hydrogen infrastructure.

In addition, it is the first government text related to the Just Transition to recognize the need for eligible investments to be compatible with the new EU-wide climate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990.

Another positive element is the clarification that the 1.6 billion euros of PDAM resources cannot be used for any infrastructure related in any way to fossil fuels (production, processing, transport, distribution, storage or incineration).

This progress, inter alia, highlights the value of the consultation as many of the above improvements were mentioned extensively in the phase of public consultation of the earlier just transition texts (SDAM and the TJTPs).

Nevertheless, the concept paper includes problematic points that need to be changed or improved, such as the insufficiency of resources to meet the needs of 5 transition regions in Greece, or the use of the Programme’s limited resources for land restoration and rehabilitation in former lignite mines, which are, by definition, finite in duration, and are thus incapable of substantially contributing to the creation of permanent jobs.

To address the scarcity of resources, the increase of the percentage of co-financing of the PDAM by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF+) is proposed, while for land restoration, the commitment of additional resources from the Recovery and Resiliency Fund (RRF) is recommended, in place of using the limited resources of the Programme (PDAM).

In addition, it appears that the concept paper did not take into account any of the comments made during the consultation phase for the TJTPs on the key issue of governance. The result is that the proposed governance system retains a central, concentrated, top-down approach and deprives local communities and civil society of the opportunity to participate in the decision-making processes about the future of the country’s transition regions, unlike other governance systems implemented in other Member States which are far more participatory.

What is needed now is to correct the issues and to incorporate the positive points of the concept paper in the consolidated text that will connect the TJTPs with the Programme, and will be officially submitted by Greece to the European Commission.

You can read the detailed comments and proposals that the Green Tank submitted to the public consultation of the concept paper here (in Greek) here