When it comes to the climate crisis, the EU media landscape has been dominated by the European Commission's announcement of a Just Transition Fund to help coal-dependent regions to phase out of fossil fuel and engage in an energy transition towards renewables.
There is more to it than the large sum of money announced from the European Institutions. There is the reality experienced by citizens across Europe living in these regions.
On 26 January 2020, Thomas Waitz, co-chair of the European Green Party visited the village of Horní Jiřetín, Czechia. The village, under the leadership of its mayor, Vladimír Buřt from Zeleni, has been resisting threats of demolition because of the nearby coal mining operations.
Thomas, amid smoke and fumes created by the mining operations recalled: "we need to stop these coal mining as soon as possible. European funding is necessary to ensure a smooth and just transition for the people living in these areas."
The visit took place after Thomas attended the Congress of the Czech Greens (Zeleni). The party elected its two new co-chairs, Magdalena Davis (Mayor of Mníšek pod Brdy) and Michal Berg (Committee member of the European Green Party).
Magdalena and Michal said: "Our primary aim is to make the general election in October 2021 the climate election, as it is the most important topic and other parties lack engagement and expertise on it, or even deny the necessity of solving the climate crisis. We see it as not only a matter of the environment, but a complex issue which needs to be tackled on energy, transportation, agriculture, and industry."
The European Greens hope that the Green Wave will reach Czechia in the next elections, and wish the new co-chairs of Zeleni the best of luck in their work!
THREAD— European Greens (@europeangreens) January 25, 2020
Our co-chair Thomas Waitz is in Czechia to attend the @zeleni_cz congress taking place this weekend, coinciding with the 30th anniversary since the founding of the party
For the first time in its history the party will elect co-chairs instead of a single chair#sjezdZ pic.twitter.com/ShwoXwUP3M