Decarbonization body top post the focus of cabinet meeting

Talks on the appointment of a chief official who will coordinate an inter-ministerial body tasked with managing the government’s ambitious decarbonization plan, primarily concerning west Macedonia, Greece’s main lignite area, will figure at the top of the agenda of a cabinet meeting today.

It is unclear if this new body’s chief coordinator will be announced today or following the Christmas break.

One thing for certain, the official to be chosen for the inter-ministerial body’s chief coordinating role will be a high-profile figure, as has been the case with appointments of head officials for other ambitious projects, including a campaign to phase out single-use plastic bags.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis will head this new inter-ministerial body.

Details concerning the master plan for the decarbonization drive remain at a preliminary stage. Their shape will much depend on EU funds expected from a Just Transition Fund.

This fund’s current balance, believed to be under 10 billion euros, is nowhere near enough to cover the decarbonization needs of more than 40 EU regions looking to terminate lignite as an electricity generation source.

The new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has pledged far stronger support for this fund. Otherwise, the European Green Deal will remain an unfulfilled prospect.

Tough competition is expected between EU member states in their efforts to draw amounts from the Just Transition Fund. Besides Greece, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and other EU members will be vying for decarbonization support from this fund.

Not unintentionally, Greek Prime Minister Costis Mitsotakis pointed out Greece’s high lignite dependence at a recent EU summit meeting. Just days ago, Hatzidakis, the energy minister, noted Greece will need further support to decarbonize.