How to better finance the decarbonisation of public transport through cohesion policy and other EU instruments, remove administrative bottlenecks and give cities direct access to EU funds: these were the main issues discussed during a two-day meeting that gathered to Prague local and regional leaders from all over the European Union at the start of the
Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.
European cities are investing massively into sustainable mobility to
mitigate the climate impact of transport, improve the quality of citizens’
life, reduce fossil-fuel consumption and increase energy resilience. Thanks
to EU cohesion policy, European countries committed to spend
more than 18 billion euros
in the past decade to promote clean urban transport, financing hundreds of
projects on the ground. This amount is expected to increase by 2030 and to
be complemented by resources from the EU's pandemic recovery plan,
Next Generation EU
The Czech Republic is one of the top bus producers in the Union and is one
of the EU countries that is financing the largest number of urban transport
nearly 700 in the last decade
). The capital Prague is a champion of the green transition: one year ago
it adopted its
2030 Climate Plan
, which seeks to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% compared to 2010 levels while
transforming the city into an eco-friendly metropolis and an even more
attractive place to live.
"Prague is sending a clear message towards the EU. Cities are absolutely
vital for the implementation of the European Green Deal and need direct
EU funding. The Climate Plan for Prague is a detailed and ambitious
roadmap for reducing CO2 emissions in the city by 2030. Sustainable
mobility is one of the essential pillars of the plan
," stated the Mayor of Prague,
(CZ/Greens), who hosted the two-day event organised in the framework of the
external meeting of the European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) commission
for territorial cohesion policy and EU budget (
"Carbon-free mobility in our cities is absolutely paramount if we want
to reach our objective to be a carbon-neutral continent by 2050. The
8th Cohesion Report
shows that transport is responsible for almost a quarter of EU
greenhouse emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities.
Therefore, all the political, juridical and technical obstacles
preventing cohesion policy from financing green mobility in our cities
and rural areas should be removed. Enhancing public transport and
active mobility, while reducing the use of individual cars, is the only
way to succeed in implementing a fair ecological transition for all," said
(RO/EPP), Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, who chaired the external meeting of the
The Deputy Minister of Regional Development
participated in the debate on behalf of the Czech Presidency. Local and
regional leaders had also the chance to exchange best practices on urban
mobility and visit projects implemented by the Municipality, such as the
new Sídliště Barrandov – Holyně tramline.
During the meeting, COTER members also discussed the
instrument, recently put forward by the European Commission to help cities
and regions in assisting refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. The proposed
flexibility measures respond to key CoR demands but, as several members
pointed out, addressing the continuing emergency requires the mobilisation
of fresh financial resources.
The role of cohesion policy as long-term investment into regions’ future,
whose impact should not be undermined by the need to cover unforeseen
budgetary shortcomings, was highlighted by local leaders in the
on the EU Commission's
8th Cohesion Report
– FR/PES), adopted during the meeting on Tuesday, 12 July. The text was
voted while the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development was
adopting its draft resolution
on the same topic, putting forward the same priority as the CoR.
COTER members also adopted 5 other draft opinions:
All six opinions are scheduled to be adopted in the CoR plenary session in
October, which will take place during the
20th European Week of Regions and Cities
The recently published 8th Cohesion Report
shows that "after a sharp drop between 2008 and 2014 as a consequence of
the 2008 economic crisis, greenhouse emissions from transport in the EU
increased between 2014 and 2019 at rates similar to those in the period
1990–2008, at just under 2% a year."
In the draft opinions adopted during the COTER meeting, local and regional
leaders point out that cohesion policy represents a major contribution to
European green investments and to the EU's energy independence. They call
on the European Commission to draw up a new long-term European strategy for
2030 linking green and digital transitions while strengthening the EU's
economic, social and territorial cohesion, in line with the "do no harm to
cohesion" principle introduced in the Cohesion Report.
COTER members also recalled that the economic growth of urban centres is
directly linked to the fluidity of mobility, which is dependent on a strong
public transport backbone.
According to the European Court of Auditors
, congestion costs 270 billion euros per year at the EU level.
On 29 April, the European Commission announced the names of the
100 cities that will participate in the pilot "mission"
to become climate-neutral by 2030. One month ago, the first 118 regions and
local authorities that will participate in the
EU Mission for Adaptation to Climate Change
were also unveiled.
Green Deal Going Local
is a CoR initiative that aims at placing cities and regions at the heart of
the EU's transition towards climate-neutrality.
Pictures of the meeting can be downloaded
Matteo Miglietta - CoR
Tel. +32 470 895 382
Wioletta Wojewodzka - CoR
Tel.: +32 473 843 986