Eurodiaconia: Don’t forget the ‘social’ in the ‘Social Climate Fund’!
Following the adoption of the Council’s position on the Social Climate Fund of the 29th of June, Eurodiaconia calls on EU decision-makers from all three institutions to ensure a fast activation and strong social dimension to the Social Climate Fund.
The Fit for 55 package will impact vulnerable and low-income households disproportionately if no mitigating measures are adopted. Those households have already been disproportionately affected by the COVID pandemic and the current increase in the cost of living. In our view, holding back until 2027 this urgently needed Social Climate Fund is sending the wrong message. To ensure broad acceptance of a ‘Green Deal’ there also needs to be a ‘Social Deal’. Therefore, a strong Social Climate Fund would send a message that the EU cares about its citizens.
The Council’s position on the Social Climate Fund has weakened it significantly by reducing its amount to 59 billion euros and further delaying its activation from 2025 to 2027, while keeping a broad scope and capping direct income support at 35%. With relatively little money, it aims at covering measures and investments to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, the renovation of buildings, the decarbonisation of heating and air-conditioning in buildings and the uptake of zero-emission and low-emission mobility and transport, as well as providing direct income support in a temporary and limited manner. As it stands now, the fund risks being a mere drop in the ocean and not benefitting those most in need. Member States should at least be able to choose to use a bigger share of the fund for direct income support.
Eurodiaconia calls on trilogue negotiators to consider a fast activation of the fund, by the latest in 2025, as was initially foreseen. Furthermore, the fund should not be further reduced in size but should be used in a more targeted manner to be impactful and effectively alleviate the burden of Fit for 55 on vulnerable and low-income households.