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The green deal – innovation, investment and a just transition

STRIDE – Improved energy planning through the Integration of Smart Grid concepts in the Danube Region

The green deal – innovation, investment and a just transition

In recent months, amid the energy crisis and the upcoming debate over the implementation of the “Fit for 55” package, the topic of the green transition to a low-carbon economy has once again moved to the forefront in Bulgaria and Europe.

For Bulgaria, which is among the most dependent countries on fossil fuels in the EU, this is a crucial moment – especially in regards to prospects for modernisation and innovation, not only for the energy sector but also for the national economy as a whole.

On June 10th 2022, the international “Green transition 2022” conference was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Policy makers, institutions, syndicates, business organisations, NGOs, media and citizens gathered to discuss how to make the Green Transition understandable and fair for all.

The event was focused on opportunities and financial incentives for regions and carbon-intensive industries. Main topics of the sessions included regions in development, innovation, enterprise development and high technologies, ESG policies, biotechnology and agriculture.

The EU’s Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner, Elisa Ferreira, stated that the EU’s cohesion policy alone will invest some €11 billion in the Bulgarian regions most lagging behind in the period 2021-2027. Investments will be made in energy efficiency, renewables and decarbonisation of transport. In the Partnership Agreement under negotiation, €2.4 billion will be for climate related investments, including a 27% share of energy from renewable sources. The Just Transition Fund (JTF) in Bulgaria will dedicate €1.3 billion to address the socioeconomic fallout of the transition, focusing on the most impacted regions – Pernik, Kyustendil and Stara Zagora – to support them in the transition to a zero-carbon economy. The communities living in these regions will face a declining industry and thus a declining source of fuel. However, even if fossil fuels have no future, these communities, the people living in these regions, should have a future – an opportunity to earn an income and participate in the future net-zero economy.

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