These areas were previously forced to transform themselves upon the arrival of the automotive industry, which is itself now subject to a similar level of change. The industry must change considerably and, in all likelihood, the number of jobs will not be the same as it is today. The coal-mining regions are therefore not the only ones concerned. The agricultural sector, too, is going to have to change dramatically. In fact, I believe that all regions potentially have concerns, including those where there isn’t much current economic activity and where reshuffling the cards presents a potential opportunity for revitalization. Currently, we are seeing a growing number of employees who, through working remotely, no longer need to live around business centers and cities and therefore could be involved in a revival of previously economically marginalized regions.
One year following its announcement, what provisional assessments can be drawn from the implementation of the Green Deal? And according to which criteria should the Just Transition Fund resources be distributed?
I think it’s a good start. The plans that have been established at the European level seem to me to be positive, even if there is still room for improvement. A significant increase in resources is needed in addition to those currently available to the European Just Transition Fund - which only targets certain regions - so as to ensure a far more systemic approach. This would require the European Union to be able to boost these resources, and this will require increases in borrowing. Thinking about a carbon tax at the borders is also essential for the financing and success of the transition, as is raising carbon prices. We also need a tax incentive that is significant, although not overly so, and also predictable for companies. Additionally, the public investment bank Bpifrance, which offers export aid to companies, has recently adopted new criteria so that they will now finance more climate-friendly projects. This policy of making public aid conditional on aspects of sustainability shows a real change of mentality and could also be implemented at the European level.
Even though only a year has passed since the announcement of the Green Deal, my assessment of this first stage is also positive. No one questions the Green Deal itself or the fact that its implementation will require considerable effort. In practical terms, the European Union must, by 2030, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 65%. In the coming months, some practical questions will have to be addressed at the European level, such as what this objective implies for CO2 emission standards that have been imposed on the automotive industry, as well as what it means for the Franco-German hydrogen initiative.