EU Commissioner: Western Macedonia could be ‘global paradigm’ in phasing out lignite

EU Commissioner: Western Macedonia could be ‘global paradigm’ in phasing out lignite

“Western Macedonia could be a global paradigm of what we can do with the right tools and the right people,” European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira said on Friday, in the context of phasing out lignite dependency for power production and the transition towards climate neutrality.

Visiting the region, she called on local government officials in western Macedonia, and Greece at large, to prepare “well-thought-out, viable projects” for funding from the EU’s Just Transition Fund.

Speaking in the city of Kozani, she urged regional mayors and representatives to “all think together how we can best reshape this economy. Let’s sit down and prepare.”

Ferreira described the transition as not simply necessary, but inevitable. “You tell us ‘decide quickly.’ But you are not yet on standby to receive money, because you do not yet have the projects. Let’s work on these projects and on this plan. Prepare quality, viable projects, to which we can say ‘yes, this is it, we can invest taxpayers’ money in these projects.’”

Referring to the plan for western Macedonia’s delignification transition presented to her earlier, she said that “what is now needed are maps, projects and funds.”

Ferreira noted that EU’s support response resembled “a Marshall Plan for Europe, with a particular focus on the weakest areas.”


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