Plan will unlock €84 million of funding from EU Just Transition Fund
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communication, Eamon Ryan TD, has today (20th December) launched a public consultation on a draft of Ireland’s Territorial Just Transition Plan, in partnership with the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly.
The plan will set out how Ireland proposes to invest funding from the EU Just Transition Fund – to support a just transition in the wider Midlands region.
Up to €84.5 million has been allocated to Ireland under the EU Just Transition Fund over the period to 2027. The Government will complement this funding with Exchequer resources.
This public consultation is asking for stakeholders’ views on the transition process and the draft plan which, when finalised, will be submitted to the European Commission for approval. The consultation invites stakeholders to complete an online survey and to attend online workshops.
Two online workshops (18th and 25th January) will allow for in-depth discussions on priorities for the EU Just Transition Fund. A third online workshop, for young people in the region, is being organised with national youth representative organisations to ensure that people impacted have the opportunity to shape the plan. There will also be specific information sessions for Oireachtas members, as well as relevant local authorities and their members.
The EU Just Transition Fund will support the goals of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and its objectives, in relation to providing a just transition in the wider Midlands region. This is in response to the ending of peat extraction for electricity generation.
The analysis for the draft Territorial Just Transition Plan builds on extensive analysis and public engagement already undertaken. This considered the development needs of the region, including for the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Eastern and Midland Region. It identified the following proposed key development needs for the wider Midlands region, based on the scope of support from the EU Just Transition Fund:
- Modernising the business environment and creating employment opportunities;
- Enhancing the skills profile;
- Promoting environmental sustainability and industrial heritage;
- Enhancing the potential of region as a place to live and work.
Commenting on today’s publication, Minister Ryan, said:
“This Government is committed to a just transition for the Midlands region and has dedicated significant funding to support workers, companies and communities following the early closure, in 2020, of the peat-fired power stations and the ending of peat extraction to supply these power stations.
“I am pleased to launch this public consultation on our draft Territorial Just Transition Plan, which is a significant step in helping to deliver further significant funding to the region, with support from the EU Just Transition Fund. I look forward to hearing peoples’ views on the draft plan. This will inform the final plan, which we will submit to the European Commission.
“I am also pleased to announce that I have decided to appoint the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA) as the Managing Authority to deliver this funding. The EMRA is the key statutory body representing the development needs of the region. It is extremely well placed, through its statutory functions and working in close cooperation with my Department and the other bodies administering EU funds in Ireland, to deliver EU just transition funding into the region.”
The consultation is open until the 14th February 2022. The draft Territorial Just Transition Plan and consultation survey are available at this link: gov.ie - Public Consultation on the EU Just Transition Fund (www.gov.ie) / https://www.gov.ie/en/consultation/352c3-public-consultation-on-the-eu-just-transition-fund/.
A report summarising the responses received will be made available online after the consultation period.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
The EU Just Transition Fund (EU JTF) is a newly established fund under the framework of EU cohesion policy and is being rolled out in all EU Member States. The Fund is governed by the EU Just Transition Fund Regulation (Regulation 2021/1056) and the EU Common Provisions Regulation (Regulation 2021/1060), which set out common rules for all EU cohesion policy funds. These regulations were adopted in June 2021.
Ireland is set to receive up to €84.5 million from the EU Just Transition Fund over the programme period of 2021-2027. The Fund must be complemented with national resources and in Ireland the national co-funding rate will be between 30% to 50%. There are also specific rules in relation to the timing of expenditure and on eligible costs that may be supported by the Fund.
The Just Transition Fund is designed to assist communities across Europe to meet the challenges of the green transition, in line with the objective of achieving EU climate neutrality by 2050 in an effective and fair manner – ensuring that nobody is left behind.
Member States must therefore concentrate the proposed investments in their territorial just transition plans on specific regions or parts of regions and justify the selection of those regions based on the economic and social impacts resulting from the transition, in particular with regard to job losses.
The wider Midlands region has been proposed as the territory for investment under the draft Territorial Just Transition Plan. This region comprises East Galway, North Tipperary, Longford, Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, West Kildare and Roscommon.
Territorial Just Transition Plans must address a number of areas, including:
- outlining the national climate transition process;
- identifying the most negatively affected territory and the economic, social and territorial impact of the transition;
- identifying the development needs and objectives of that territory by 2030 consistent with other national, regional or territorial strategies and plans;
- setting out the types of investments envisaged; and
- outlining the proposed governance mechanisms for the implementation of the EU JTF.
The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has overall policy responsibility for the EU Just Transition Fund in Ireland. The Department will be supported by the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA), which will be the Managing Authority – a requirement of the EU funds management system.
The Managing Authority is a key function within the overall architecture for the delivery of the funds and the EMRA will play a critical role in the development and ongoing management of Ireland’s JTF Programme for the forthcoming programme period, as prescribed by the EU Common Provisions Regulation. Other bodies may be selected by the Government to deliver specific elements of the territorial plan and programme.