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Image of engineer walking through solar panel plant - Just Transition

Just transition

Just transition is the term used to describe the transition to a climate-neutral economy while securing the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities. A just transition to a climate-neutral economy provides and guarantees better and decent jobs, social protection, more training opportunities and greater job security for all workers affected by global warming and climate change policies. 


Recent updates


Not only do we need appropriate policy measures to drive the shift to a carbon-neutral economy, we also need sound policy to ensure no one is left behind – we...


From January to June 2022, Eurofound supported the work of France's presidency of the Council of the EU, providing valuable research results on specific topics linked with the presidency priorities.

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From January to June 2023, Eurofound supported the work of Sweden's presidency of the Council of the EU, providing valuable research results on specific topics linked with the presidency priorities.

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Eurofound research

Eurofound's research is shaped by the key challenges for social cohesion and a just transition in a changing environment. It covers the areas of working conditions, industrial relations, employment and living conditions, providing evidence that can assist policy action. Main topics linked with the move towards a just transition include working conditions and sustainable work, employment and labour markets, digitalisation, the future of manufacturing, people’s living conditions and well-being, restructuring, skills and training, youth, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. Research findings could potentially feed into the work of the Just Transition Platform, which assists EU Member States and regions to unlock the support available through the Just Transition Mechanism.

Eurofound will also collaborate with the European Environment Agency (EEA) on this topic. The EEA’s post-corona planet web hub offers access to the different initiatives, policies and research projects that link COVID-19 to the environment and climate change.

Key outputs

EU context

A just transition at European level focuses on two core issues for transition, moving towards a green and digital Europe where no one will be left behind

As a committed party to the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU submitted its long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March 2020. It sets out the extent of the transition across sectors and regions and lays the ground for designing a just transition.  

Green and digital transition

At the heart of the EU’s long-term strategy is the European Green Deal, which is one of six European Commission priorities for 2019–2024. It will contribute to the financing of the transition that Europe faces through its Just Transition Mechanism. 

Responding to the way digital technology is changing our lives, another Commission priority is to create a Europe fit for the digital age, leading the transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world through its European Digital Strategy.

Strong social Europe for just transitions

In January 2020, the European Commission presented its Communication ‘A strong social Europe for just transitions’. This vision to reinforce social Europe prepares the way for an Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, which is the European social strategy to make sure that the ‘transitions of climate neutrality, digitalisation and demographic change are socially fair and just’. 

Eurofound’s work related to the just transition links in with several of the Commission’s 2019–2024 priorities, and is highly relevant here.


European Industrial Relations Dictionary 

Eurofound expert(s)

​Stavroula Demetriades

Stavroula Demetriades is a senior research manager in the Employment unit at Eurofound. She has responsibility for research in the areas of innovation, management practices, hybrid...

Senior research manager,
Employment research unit

Tina Weber is a research manager in Eurofound’s Working Life unit. Having previously shared her time between the Employment and Working Life units, her work has focused on labour...

Research manager,
Working life research unit
Publications results (17)

This report explores the dynamics of the environmental performance of the EU Member States and the extent to which the disparities in their performance have narrowed since the early 2000s. The report is a product of cooperation between Eurofound and the European Environment Agency, with the

03 August 2023

This report investigates the involvement of social partners in the just transition to a climate-neutral economy, with a particular focus on the territorial just transition plans. These plans aim to support the regions most negatively affected by the just transition by assisting workers to retrain

19 July 2023

The EU’s transition to a climate-neutral economy requires nothing short of a clean industrial revolution. This report explores the potential socioeconomic implications of such fundamental change for different European regions and population groups, following a foresight approach. Scenario-focused

19 June 2023

On request by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Eurofound prepared a background paper as a basis for the discussion at the informal Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) meeting on 3-4 May 2023. The paper outlines some of the key challenges

04 May 2023

This paper presents an analytical summary of current academic and policy literature on the impact of climate change and policies to manage the transition to a carbon-neutral economy on four key domains: employment, working conditions, social dialogue and living conditions. It maps the main empirical

12 April 2023

As economies begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages are becoming increasingly evident despite the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy and commodity prices. These include shortages exacerbated by the crisis in some sectors and professions where they had been endemic for some

28 March 2023

This paper provides a context for the questions to be explored within the Foundation Forum 2022. Europe is emerging from the COVID-19 crisis having managed to protect its economy in the face of a major shock and prevent mass unemployment. However, challenges remain. While the Member States up to now

24 February 2022

The informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for employment and social policy (EPSCO) took place in Bordeaux on 14–15 February 2022. The meeting focused on the challenges posed by the major green and digital transitions to the labour market, and the way in which the European Union can support

14 February 2022

The European Union Agencies Network on Scientific Advice (EU-ANSA) consists of technical and regulatory agencies that provide scientific advice to EU policymakers. This report demonstrates how EU-ANSA member Agencies are addressing the socioeconomic effects of sustainable development. It is based on

05 January 2022

This briefing is co-produced by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and Eurofound. It is based on the results of two complementary analyses by the EEA and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) on the socioeconomic effects of climate policies, in

29 October 2021

Online resources results (4)

Climate change objectives and decarbonisation measures are vital for the future of Europe. But how will these objectives impact employment and the labour market? In this episode of the Eurofound Talks podcast series, Mary McCaughey speaks with Eurofound Senior Research Manager John Hurley about new

22 November 2023

Presentation by Ricardo Rodriguez Contreras, Research Manager, Eurofound. 2-3 October 2023, EMCO meeting hosted by the Spanish Presidency, Madrid.

9 October 2023
Image of a group of cyclists crossing at a street junction.

Facing up to the social realities of the green transition

The European Green Deal binds the European Union to becoming a climate-neutral territory by 2050. As part of this, the European Climate Law (June 2021) commits the EU to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% (compared with 1990 levels) by 2030. To achieve this, a fundamental transformati

The rise in cost of living and energy poverty: Social impact and policy responses. 14 October 2022, Informal Meeting of Employment and Social Affairs Ministers (EPSCO). Presentation by Ivailo Kalfin, Executive Director, Eurofound.

14 October 2022
Blogs results (6)

Not only do we need appropriate policy measures to drive the shift to a carbon-neutral economy, we also need sound policy to ensure no one is left behind – we need to ensure a just transition.

2 May 2024

‘Building back better’ is not just an empty slogan – we need the construction sector to help us achieve our climate targets. Eurofound research reveals that construction is where the Fit for 55 climate policy package will generate the most net new employment.

4 December 2023

Rising energy prices are putting more people under increased financial pressure and at greater risk of energy poverty. In this data story, we take a closer look at the data from the fifth round of the Living, working and COVID-19 e-survey to explore the extent of the issue and the threat of energy

3 August 2022
Image of people waiting for tram in city street and man cycling on cycle path

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions have caused energy prices to soar. Governments seeking to alleviate the negative impacts of price increases on households have introduced energy subsidies and VAT reductions for electricity, gas and fuel. While such policies may be needed

10 June 2022

When it comes to Europe’s COVID-19 recovery and its aspiration to build back a more resilient society, the so-called green and digital transitions have dominated EU policy discussions. And as Eurofound made preparations for the 2022 Foundation Forum – a unique occasion for high-level debate on the

11 March 2022

At the very outset of its mandate, the new European Commission presented the European Green Deal, establishing the objective of becoming the first climate-neutral bloc in the world by 2050. The initiative emphasises the seriousness which the European Commission places on the climate and biodiversity

21 February 2020
Upcoming publications results (1)

Multistakeholder partnerships are essential for ensuring that the green transition is not only environmentally sound but also socially just. This policy brief investigates how relevant actors (national and regional authorities, the social partners and civil society organisations), using a partnershi

August 2024
Policy brief
Data results (1)


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