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Just transition is becoming an increasingly popular concept to address the social consequences of industrial decarbonization, which EU countries have committed to pursue through the European Green Deal. These consequences include increasing redundancies – especially in carbon-intensive firms – and losses of income and well-being in marginalised communities. However, a review of the reference literature shows that the role of just transition in policy design has so far been largely overlooked by existing empirical studies. Against this backdrop, the core aim of this working paper is to assess whether and how EU and national policy documents speak about a just transition and/or about tackling the social consequences of industrial decarbonisation, by referring to the concept of eco-social policy mixes for a just transition. This study hence maps and analyses these policy mixes, first at the EU level and then at the Member States level. This is done through a manual textual analysis of relevant EU documents and of 27 country-specific National Energy and Climate Plans. Results show that eco-social policy mixes for a just transition are still rare across Europe and, when in place, they are markedly characterised by a narrow scope and an investment-oriented approach, while also being sometimes alarmingly attached to low climate ambitions.

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Mapping eco-social policy mixes for a just transition in Europe_2022.pdf