MEP Picula: Two Million Euros for Energy Transition on Croatian Islands

Lauren Simmonds

As Morski writes on the 20th of November, 2019, at a recent Clean Energy Forum for EU islands, which was held in Croatia for the first time, Croatian MEP Tonino Picula presented the priorities and long-term initiatives of the European Parliament to finance the EU’s energy transition.

”An agreement between the European Council and the European Parliament on the budget for 2020 secured through the action plan a new two million euros for technical assistance to the islands for applications for European renewable energy projects in the next two years,” the Croatian MEP confirmed, who then delivered a speech in Split at the fourth Clean Energy Forum for EU Islands, which is being held in the presence of senior Croatian officials, as well as officials from other EU member states.

However, this is not the only piece of good news about European and Croatian islands to come to light, as representatives of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago announced their strategy and transition plan for clean energy within the Forum, with the aim to switch exclusively to renewable energy by 2040, which will be achieved in part by local community-owned solar power plants.

The Cres-Lošinj archipelago is among the six European islands to have recently announced their strategies and transition plans, the others being the Aran Islands (Ireland), Culatra (Portugal), La Palma (Spain), Salina (Italy) and Sifnos (Greece). The Forum will showcase a number of examples of good practice and foster dialogue between the various actors involved in the energy transition process of European islands, and participants will have the opportunity to see different technological solutions.

Picula welcomed the initiative by the Croatian islanders, who from the ten islands involved in the previous call for funding energy transition projects are now the leaders on a European scale.

However, he stressed that the sustainability of the European islands’ energy transition requires both long-term and appropriate funding for complex, comprehensive projects and adequate investment in research and innovation to devise workable solutions to facilitate this energy transition, adding that he hoped that talks on the long-term financing of the energy transition of Croatian islands will begin during the Croatian Presidency of the Union in 2020.

”In its interim report on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021 – 2027, the European Parliament proposed the introduction of a special fund of 4.8 billion euros for a new European Union energy transition. These funds would facilitate and offset the transition to renewable energy for those most affected by the transition. The aim of the Fund would be to address social, socio-economic and environmental impacts on workers and communities during the transition, which also implies many EU islands,” Picula emphasised in his speech.

Picula has been a focus of action since the start of his first term in the European Parliament. Back in 2016, he and his colleague A. Sant presented an Action Plan and submitted an amendment worth 2 million euros to the European budget, with the aim of securing funding for the energy transition of Croatian (and EU) islands.

The lengthy negotiations within the Parliament itself, as well as discussions with the Commission and the Council, led to the inauguration of the Islands Secretariat – the first working body dedicated solely to the islands. The Secretariat was set up within the European Commission in June 2018 and presented in Brussels. It is the first working body in EU history exclusively available to islanders.

MEP Picula has been working to preserve and improve life on the islands since the beginning of his term.

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