EU funding and policy initiatives supporting the green transition

The EU has put the fight against climate change and the shift to a green economy at the top of its agenda by designing and implementing a series of policy initiatives and funding programmes. Among these, the European Green Deal is the most important and ambitious package of measures devised by the EU in order to become a prosperous, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050. This objective will be reached by implementing a just transition that will provide new quality jobs, accessible transport, energy efficient housing and technological innovation. 

Examples of relevant policy initiatives that have been or will be launched under the Green Deal include the European Climate Law, which aims at enshrining climate neutrality in law, the new EU Strategy on Climate Adaptation and the European Climate Pact. However, the EU has launched also other policy initiatives focusing on a green and just transition, some of which address the needs of vulnerable people as well: 

  • New Circular Economy Plan and Farm-to-Fork Strategy: both programmes include opportunities for green long-term care, through project funding and the development of regulations and recommendations aimed at reducing food waste; 
  • EU Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030: the Strategy highlights the need to ensure that the green transition to a climate neutral and resilient society is just and inclusive and involves persons with disabilities; 
  • Proposal for a Council Recommendation on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality: the Proposal stresses that a fair transition shall ensure that no one is left behind, in particular people most affected by the change and those already in vulnerable situations. It encourages active support for quality employment, equal access to education and training, social protection systems and access to affordable essential services and housing. 

The EU also offers multiple funding schemes to support the green transition and the inclusion of vulnerable groups in the process: 

  • European Social Fund+ (ESF+): aims at implementing the EPSR and the UN CRPD, also by funding activities aimed at increasing employment opportunities of people with disabilities and social workers in green sectors; 
  • Just Transition Fund (within the Just Transition Mechanism): it is a key tool to support the areas most affected by the transition through economic diversification and reconversion of the territories concerned, support to SMEs, clean energy, upskilling and reskilling of workers, job-search assistance and active inclusion of jobseekers programmes; 
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: it promotes social inclusion and economic development in rural areas, providing funding for projects aimed at creating new jobs for persons with disabilities in the agricultural sector; 
  • Horizon Europe 2020 & Erasmus+: they offer social service providers the chance to access funding for green projects, training and the promotion of green jobs; 
  • Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF): it supports a sustainable recovery of Member States from the Covid-19 pandemic.