The European Green Deal risks deepening economic and social divisions between east and western EU countries, trade unions say, warning the 27-member bloc risks imploding before it reaches its 2050 climate neutrality goal.
Trade unions have stepped up warnings that the Green Deal put forward by the European Commission in December last year will put millions of jobs at risk, without any assurances that workers in affected industries will have a future.
“We are talking about almost 11 million jobs directly affected in extractive industries, energy intensive industries and in the automotive industry,” said Luc Triangle, secretary general of IndustriAll, a federation of trade unions.
“Those jobs won’t necessarily disappear,” Triangle told EURACTIV in an interview. “But there needs to be a future perspective for jobs in these industries,” which is currently not clear, he said.
Last week, the European Commission tabled a groundbreaking EU Climate Law, aimed at putting into hard legislation the EU’s goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050.
The EU executive is now expected to follow-up with an industrial strategy on Tuesday (10 March), outlining new growth areas for Europe as it moves towards a greener and more connected future.
But while the draft strategy places great focus on digitalisation, it contains little for traditional manufacturing sectors like steelmaking, automotive and chemicals, which are expected to be hit hardest by the transition to net-zero emissions.
“It’s easy to say we need to reach ambitious climate targets by 2050 and 2030,” Triangle said. “But the industrial strategy should give the answer on the ‘how’ we will get there. And at the moment, we don’t have those answers yet”.