Quality public services are essential to achieving EU decarbonisation targets

on the European Commission Recommendation for a 2040 emissions reduction target

(3 April 2024)  The European Commission recently published its recommendation for a 90% reduction of the EU’s net greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The next Commission will submit a legislative proposal to make this target mandatory, as required under the EU Climate Law.

Although the ambitious targets of the new Communication are welcome, initiatives must be balanced with the climate and social challenges which lie ahead. A fair, social, inclusive transition must be at the core of the Commission’s efforts. To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, ambitious measures must be adopted, and there must be adequate European and national support for all citizens and workers. It is especially crucial that the European Green Deal considers the social and labour impacts of the transition if it is to convince people and workers in affected sectors and regions. The recent protests by farmers in Europe serve as a clear reminder.

EPSU has adopted a position paper on the Communication. The position highlights that:

  • Austerity measures will prevent the EU from meeting the 2040 targets.
  • Quality public services are crucial to achieving the EU’s decarbonisation efforts.
  • Social partners must be involved at both European and national, sectoral and cross-sectoral levels.
  • The evidence-based emissions reduction target must be accompanied by a dedicated Just Transition Directive.
  • The root causes of energy poverty must be addressed with greater vigour.
  • Companies that undermine the EU’s efforts to reduce emissions must be held accountable.

The position paper was adopted by unanimity by both the Utilities Standing Committee and the Executive Committee.

The Commission’s Communication promises to launch the debates with relevant stakeholders. EPSU will continue to ensure that the voices of public service workers are taken into account, including the points set out in its position paper.

Read the full position paper here:

EPSU Position on the European Commission Recommendation for a 2040 emissions reduction target, (EN - FR - DE - ES - SV - RUadopted by the Executive Committee 20-21 March 2024