(23 Octobre 2017) The concept of Just Transition was at the heart of the discussion at the EPSU’s Utilities Standing Committee where decarbonisation and digitalisation of the European economy were deeply debated amongst members.
A joint declaration on just and clean energy transition, which has been negotiated with European employers in the Electricity sector, was approved by the committee. The joint declaration emphasises the need to focus on quality job creation, reskilling/upskilling, involvement of social partners/local communities and specific financial instruments to ensure a just and clean transition in the electricity sector.
The RightToEnergy campaign, putting together anti-poverty associations, environmental NGOs and trade unions, and fighting for guarantying to all European citizens affordable and renewable energy as well as energy-efficient housing, was presented and strongly supported by standing committee’s members.
Yuliya Yurchenko, PSIRU, presented the first findings of the research “20 years on, a balance sheet of EU energy market liberalisation”. She defined the scope of the study and she highlighted the forward-looking dimension of the study. Standing committee’s members took this opportunity to shape their vision of an alternative EU energy policy.
Concerning the waste sector, the issue of organising and recruitment as well as Health and safety in the context of the circular economy was also discussed. Regarding the European Citizen Initiative on the Right2Water, brought forward by EPSU in April 2012, attendees heard that there is still progress to be made on the part of the Commission. The Standing Committee welcomed recent developments such as remunicipalisation in Spain as well as the introduction of the right to water in the Slovenian constitution. EPSU’s strategy toward the forthcoming revision of the Water Framework Directive was also debated alongside informing about the upcoming Alternative Water Forum in Brasilia in March 2018.
Finally, and due to the fact that utilities standing committee President Janne Ruden is going to be retired soon, a new chairing team was elected. Matthew Lay, Unison, and Vidar Hennum, EL&IT, were elected by unanimity president and vice-president of the standing committee. The members of the committee took this opportunity to warmly thank Janne Ruden for his mandate as standing committee chairman and to congratulate the newly elected chairing team.
The EPSU Standing Committee on Utilities took place on 5 October, in Brussels; the next one will take place in March 2018.