Last week the European Commission approved plans for three Swedish regions to restructure key industries and support a just green transition. The plans were co-drafted by Nordregio, and their approval unlocks SEK 2.9 billion in funding from the EU Just Transition Mechanism.
“We have worked intensively on these plans and the Commission’s approval is welcome news,” explained Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs, Anna-Caren Sätherberg, in a press statement. “Sweden should be a world leader in the climate transition, and we will use new technology to create jobs throughout the country. The Just Transition Mechanism is an important piece of the puzzle in achieving this.”
Nordregio supports with detailed analysis and research
The process for this approval goes back to 2020 when Nordregio was hired by the EU Commission at the request of Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. Together with consulting firm Trinomics, Nordregio was tasked with supporting Norrbotten, Västerbotten and Gotland in the preparation of the so-called Territorial Just Transition Plans.
For Nordregio’s researchers that involved detailed analysis of socio-economic impacts through stakeholder interviews, quantitative analyses, and in-depth research to identify the major social impacts of climate transitions in the regions. “Sweden has now designed a remarkable planning instrument to ensure that no one in these regions is left behind in the transition to a low carbon society” said Carlos Tapia, Nordregio Senior Research Fellow and leader of the project.
He also noted that the drafting of the Territorial Just Transition Plans in Sweden was a learning process for all the stakeholders involved and was documented in an article published by Nordregio researchers.
Recognition of Nordregio’s contribution
When announcing the approval, the European Commission praised the project and said that the Swedish Territorial Just Transition Plans could be considered a benchmark for the rest of the EU. Nordregio’s significant role in the process was also underscored.
“Nordregio provided key support in the development of the just transition plans, notably through science-based analyses regarding the transition at stake,” said Kristin Hedström, Programme Manager of the EU Just Transition Fund at Tillväxverket.
“We are delighted that Nordregio’s work has been both appreciated and recognised in this process,” said Nordregio’s Director Rolf Elmér. “But most of all we are excited that these funds will be a game-changer for the regions and industries they support, both in terms of speeding up the transitioning but also providing jobs.”
The just transition in Sweden
In Sweden the Territorial Just Transition plans focus on the restructuring of the steel industry in Norrbotten, the metal industry in Västerbotten and the mineral industry on Gotland.
The funds will be used, among other things, for investments in new climate-smart and resource-efficient technology, such as carbon capture and storage in the metal and cement industry. It will also focus on skill enhancement for employees in the affected industries and will complement other EU programs and national initiatives in the climate area.