“Just Transition”

Conference in Brussels

Maison des Associations Internationales
40, rue Washington
1050 Brussels

Conference organised by the Delegation DIE LINKE. in the European Parliament and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels, in cooperation with transform! europe.


The recently adopted Paris agreement on climate change should accelerate the decarbonisation of the global economy, since, for the first time, all countries have committed to become carbon neutral by the end of this century. Europe should approach carbon neutrality by 2050. Whereas these ambitious objectives have been established, the concrete strategy to make the low-carbon industry a reality in Europe is still to be developed. This is especially true in regions which rely heavily on carbon intensive activities and which often remain important employment providers.

The aim of the conference is to create an exchange of views between trade unionists, politicians of left and green parties across Europe, and policy makers coming from coal regions/nuclear regions such as Lusatia and Ruhr area in Germany, Poland, Asturias in Spain, France and Scotland who face the political and economic consequences of a coal phase-out or nuclear phase-out.

We would like to discuss the concept of “Just transition” and possible opportunities and barriers to its implementation. What is the need for policy planning at regional level? What kind of governance structures do we need to ensure workers’ participation? Which initiatives at EU level are necessary to accelerate the deployment of low-carbon breakthrough technologies? How can we achieve a skilled workforce which is an asset in the transition of regions towards a low-carbon economy? How can the local support for decarbonisation be strengthened?

Languages: German, English, Spanish, Polish

Please register at: cornelia.ernst@ep.europa.eu


Monday, 5 December 2016


10:00-10:15 Welcome and Introduction

  • Cornelia Ernst (Member of European Parliament, Die Linke, GUE/NGL)
  • Martin Schirdewan (Director of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation Brussels office)
  • Maxime Benatouil (transform! Programme Director)

10:15-11:45 SESSION 1: What is to be done? Points of view from regions to be affected by the coal and/or nuclear phase-out  – Facilitator: Claire Roumet (Director of Energy Cities)

  • Torsten Poetzsch (Mayor from Weißwasser, Lusatia, Germany)
  • Leszek Swietalski (Secretary General of “Union of Rural Municipalities of Poland”/Zwiazek Gmin Wiejskich Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, Poznan, Poland)
  • Janusz Piechocki (Mayor of Margonin, Poland)
  • Sofia Ciércoles (Mayor of Andorra, Teruel, Aragon, Spain)
  • Peter Singer (Chair of Group DIE LINKE in Regional Council Cologne, Germany)


11:45-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-13:30 SESSION 2: Arguments and Proposals for a Just Transition: Trade Unions’ Voices – Facilitator: Paloma Lopez-Bermejo (MEP)

  • Benjamin Denis (European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC)
  • Matthew Lay (Vice-President of the European Public Service Union Utilities Standing Committee and National Officer at UNISON)
  • Jose Luis Villares (Confederacion sindical de comisiones obreras, CCOO, Spain)
  • Marc Delepouve (Syndicat national de l’enseignement supérieur SNESUP, France)


13:30-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-16:00 SESSION 3: Arguments and Proposals for a Just Transition: Left Parties’ and Green Parties’ Voices – Facilitator: Cornelia Ernst (MEP)

  • Thomas Domres (Member of Parliament, DIE LINKE, Parliament Brandenburg, Germany)
  • Jana Pinka (Member of Parliament, DIE LINKE, Saxonian Parliament, Germany)
  • Claudia Beamish (Member of Scottish Parliament, Scottish Labour Party, UK)
  • Jeremie Zeitoun (Parliamentary Assistant Claude Turmes (MEP, The Greens)
  • Inger V. Johansen (Red-Green-Alliance, Denmark)
  • Kate Hudson (National Secretary Left Unity, United Kingdom)
  • Konrad Rychlewski(RAZEM, Poland)


16:00-16:15 Coffee break

16:15-17:45 SESSION 4: Assessments of on-going regional experiences – Facilitator: Marlis Gensler (RLF)

  • Molly Walsh (Friends of the Earth Europe, Brussels)
  • Walter Wendt-Kleinberg (Ruhr Area, Germany)
  • Maité Llanos (Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, Geneva)
  • Jean-François Caron (Mayor of Loos-en-Gohelle, France, EE-LV) (tbc)
  • Hubertus Zdebel (Member of Parliament, German Bundestag, Group DIE LINKE)


17:45-18:15 Concluding Remarks and Next Working Steps – Facilitator: Martin Schirdewan (Director RLF Brussels)

  • Manuela Kropp (Policy Advisor to MEP Cornelia Ernst, European Parliament, Brussels)
  • Jean-Claude Simon (facilitator of the transform! Working Group on Energy)
  • Maxime Benatouil(transform! Programme Director)

18:15 Networking cocktail