Regions in transition to a post-carbon Europe are facing an unprecedented structural change, compounded by the damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic and population shrinkage. With a special focus on Polish coal regions and comparison with other transitioning regions in Europe, the workshop has revolved around the Just Transition Plans, being the common denominator for various policy and empirical realities. We have discussed ESPON territorial evidence that seeks to explain the different potential of regions in transition to induce structural change, focusing in particular on knowledge and innovation, industry and entrepreneurship and the phenomenon of complex shrinkage.

In a context where industrial path dependencies and demographic decline are likely to moderate differently the impact of just transition instruments and public policies in different cities, functional areas and regions, the workshop have in particular focused on the design of effective public policies, captured in robust Just Transition Plans.

Contributions have featured new forms of triple-helix involvement and new opportunities for diversification. The online workshop has taken place on the 11th of June 2021 and is co-organized by the Polish Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy and ESPON. It brings together Polish national and regional practitioners and their counterparts from other regions developing their Just Transition Plans.

DeCarb Project was presented during the Roundtable “Regions and structural change in the light of just transition and decarbonisation strategies", sharing experience and practices exchanged between the partners which will be adapted in the #decarbonisation Just Transition Plan for Stara Zagora region in Bulgaria. A special focus was paid to the Zagora Industrial Zone which is one of the main initiatives of the local authority to attract new investment in the region and EDIH ZAGORE as a digitalisation and innovation provider for the businesses and public institutions.