Union leader Ludovic Voet on why the EU needs a just transition mechanism that really works

As the European Commission prepared to reveal its climate law this week, legislating for decarbonisation of the EU’s economy, ENDS spoke to European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) confederal secretary Ludovic Voet, who leads on climate policy for the organisation representing 45 million workers from 38 European countries. Voet, a former national union youth leader in Belgium, talks about why the EU needs workers on board to tackle the climate crisis, why a ‘just transition’ must include all of Europe, and why the EU must resist corporate lobbying on climate policy.

Youth climate marchers, galvanised by Greta Thurberg, commanded significant public and political attention over the last year. An important element of the growing, global climate justice movement has been the involvement of trade unions. 

Voet says there has been a “really positive interaction” in parts of Europe between unions and climate activists; something he wants to happen more widely, with environmental groups talking more about the socioeconomic impact of climate crisis, and unions moving beyond a narrow jobs-focussed approach to transition. “We have to also have a global message for a sustainable Europe,” he says. 

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