Photo credits: European Commission in Estonia
On October 10th Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission came for a visit to Narva! A press conference was held at the Narva Art Residency to discuss Estonia’s plan for Just Transition.
Estonia’s prime minister Kaja Kallas and minister of public administration Riina Solman were also present. During the visit to Narva, the guests also went to Kreenholm Manufactory, founded by Ursula von der Leyen’s great grandfather, baron Ludwig von Knoop.
“The need for a green transition has been talked about for a long time, but Russia’s war against Ukraine has also made it clear to the last doubters how important it is to abandon the use of fossil energy sources even faster. Striving for climate neutrality is an opportunity to improve our energy security, make Ida-Virumaa’s economy more sustainable, encourage new investments in the region and increase the competitiveness of companies,” said Kaja Kallas at the opening seminar of Estonian just transition plan in Narva, where the new opportunities for the region were discussed.
“A fair transition to a more diverse economy gives the residents of Ida-Virumaa new confidence in the future and creates new well-paid jobs. It also contributes to the improvement of nature and the living environment here. The young people of Ida-Virumaa, who discussed the importance of a just transition last year in the climate assembly, expect all of this from us,” said Prime Minister Kallas, who thanked the European Commission for their support and all those who contribute to the implementation of the just transition plan within Estonia.
“Renewables have a long-term growth perspective, which fossil fuels do not. The Just Transition Fund will help create new companies, or modernise old ones, and bring research and new jobs into the region of Ida-Virumaa,” stressed Ursula von der Leyen.
Estonian just transition plan focuses on two mutually reinforcing strands. These are “Economy and labour” with €273 million and “Environment and social inclusion” with €66.74 million of triggering measures. Estonia receives the most money per capita from the JTF compared to other European countries.
“For Ida-Viru County and Estonia as a whole, 354 million euros is a crucial amount of financial support that we can offer to the region thanks to the European Union’s Just Transition Fund,” said Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman. “While so far, we have focused on working with locals to develop a working plan and on how to make the best use of the support, it is now time to put these plans into action. Above all, what is needed here is the perception of the local population on what changes and developments they themselves want to see in future-proofing the economy and living environment of Ida-Viru County and making it more environmentally friendly. They have some excellent ideas! On the other hand, the continued support and advice of the state, on which local people can rely to achieve their big goals, is just as important.”
The jobs created by the just transition plan must be created in the region within the next seven years. Dozens of companies have already taken an active interest in the new opportunities and have already undergone the necessary pre-consultation, with some of them already working on their applications. Most of the measures under the Just Transition Fund are likely to open at the end of this year or in the first half of next year.