27. September 2022Building socio-economic resilience in at-risk regions: A Recap

This blog is in response to CINTRAN's third webinar in the Coal+ Regions in Transition event series. The third webinar took place on 20 September 2022 and presented on “Building socio-economic resilience in at-risk regions.” The webinar recording and presentations can be found at the end of the blog.


Which are the European Regions at risk of suffering from socio-economic impacts in light of the (just) energy transition? Coal+ regions across Europe and beyond have been for decades the drivers of their countries’ economies, though at times still falling behind their neighbours. With the clear decision of the European Commission to decarbonise economies highly dependent on fossil fuels, these regions are at risk of lagging (if not already) greatly behind their national economies.

Since a key principle of the Just Transition is to leave no one behind, change-makers are developing solutions and innovative business models to diversify their economies in order to alleviate the negative effects of such rapid change. The third event of the CINTRAN webinar series gave participants an overview of the 15 European regions at socio-economic risk, their challenges, and the key areas where they should focus to prepare for a successful just transition.

Zoi Vrontisi (Project coordinator / Senior Researcher Climate policy) opened the webinar by reviewing a Socio-economic Risk Indicator for fossil dependent regions in the EU. In doing so, she identified high-risk regions, which, with few exceptions, coincide with the regions eligible for Just Transition Funds (JTF) allocation. Further, as she showed that most regions at risk lag behind in national growth and employment, she emphasized the need for tailored support to cope with transformative and proactively create sustainable economic development as well as to minimize serious economic impacts and social inequalities. Review her full presentation here.

Piotr Masłowski (Deputy Mayor of Rybnik, Poland) then broke down the difficulties in becoming a socio-economic hub in the Rybnik region, highlighting to challenge of explaining to its citizens the need for simultaneously transforming the economy and fighting for climate neutrality. He ended his remarks with excellent final words: “The problem is bigger than any new start-up could solve. We need to focus on the next generation of youth to avoid more brain drain.”

Olga Knez (Project Manager, Katapult Business Accelerator) continued the conversation by explaining how to turn the brain drain to brain gain. While she discussed how the Slovenian region’s transition stirred a lack of enthusiasm throughout its community, due to side effects like unemployment and lack of resources, she explained how companies like Dewesoft can reinvest in regions and provide the infrastructure, like data acquisition, and business models to kick-start the transition.

Karel Tichý (Economic And Social Council Of The Ústí Region) came into the discussion by emphasizing the importance of business incubators and boosting start-ups in coal+ regions in transition, which are and will be supported by the Just Transition Fund. He additionally underscored how green hydrogen is a strong driver of diversification in the energy crisis. He closed his presentation with encouraging words: “I am quite optimistic of the future [of these regions] because the movement and changes we are seeing now in companies and society as whole is quite positive.”

Dive deeper into the discussion by watching the full webinar on “Building socio-economic resilience in at-risk regions” here.

Find the presentations featured in the webinar below:

Still wanting more? Don`t miss our next webinar! Look out for all the latest info on the event series here.