EC vice-president expresses optimism over Poland's energy transition

Timmermans expressed his conviction that the Polish people had already started to understand what the dependence on coal meant for air and health, and what price had to be paid for this. John Thys/PAP/EPA

European Commission (EC) Vice-President Frans Timmermans has told a Polish daily that a transition, which is to offer a development prospect to regions based on coal, should be prepared now and that, with regard to this issue, he was optimistic about Poland.

In an interview with the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily, Timmermans said that when the pandemic started, many people began to expect that climate disaster would not be spoken about for a long time. However, he said, even during the coronavirus crisis, the future of coal did not look optimistic, and that a transition programme should be prepared now.

He stated that he was optimistic about Poland since the Polish economy and the Polish people were able to carry out the transition, and said that they had been proving this for 30 years. Timmermans added that Poland was a country of sought-after engineers and highly-educated specialists, who are needed in Europe. And he also said that the EU was showing solidarity, which, in his opinion, was manifested by the Just Transition Fund as well as other measures, like a repair programme and a multi-year budget. The official argued that this created many opportunities regarding the transition in Central Europe, including in Poland.

The EC vice-president admitted that much was expected from EU member countries, but added that it had to be done. He also expressed his conviction that the Polish people had already started to understand what the dependence on coal meant for air and health, and what price had to be paid for this.