Trades unions call for 'just transition' as part of EU green policy

Latvia's largest trades union organization is among the signatories of an open letter from trade unionists in Central and Eastern Europe, calling for a "just transtion" to  greener economy.

The open letter to European Union environment and labor ministers signed by numerous trades union organizations says: "While commendable strides have been made in certain regions regarding energy and industrial reconversion, the reality for the workers we represent falls short of the necessary scale. Many of our members are deeply concerned about their futures and their support for climate action cannot be guaranteed without just transition."

For Latvia, the letter is signed by Egils Baldzens of the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS), which describes itself as the biggest non-governmental organisation in Latvia, bringing together the various trades unions of different professions.

"The challenges our countries from Central and Eastern Europe face are numerous and complex. We have been disproportionately impacted by the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Some of the highest energy poverty rates are faced by our citizens... Before phasing out jobs in so-called 'brown' jobs, workers must see the phase-in of new quality jobs in their region at the exact same time," says the letter, which says funding allocated to help the transition in the east of the bloc is insufficient.

"While we may hear of many positive examples of the transition happening in North and Western Europe, the transition is not happening at the scale we need in CEE Member States. EU industrial policy strategy must account for regional disparities and come up with concrete solutions for addressing intra-EU cleavages. Germany and France together account for almost 80% of state aid that has been approved under the new state aid rules," says the letter. 

The full text of the letter can be read here.

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