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Green Deal: cities and regions ready to deliver  

At COP25 in Madrid, Members of the European Committee of the Regions welcome the Green Deal communication and recall cities and regions are key to reach EU's climate neutrality

The European Commission released its communication and timeline for the European Green Deal. Upgrading energy and climate targets along with new strategies and legislation for climate adaptation, air quality and biodiversity protection are amongst the measures ahead. While COP25 negotiations block on international carbon market rules, the EU's assembly of local and regional representatives calls on the Parties of the Paris agreement to foster cooperation with cities and regional governments as the only way to deliver effective climate action and reverse global warming.  

Attending the final week of COP25 climate talks, Members of the European Committee of the Regions held a working meeting on the Green Deal communication. Members recalled cities and regions are already more ambitious than national governments and reiterate their commitment to deploy all efforts to deliver the climate neutral transition locally.

Members welcome the Green Deal communication as it sets a very ambitious and comprehensive agenda. It brings us closer to a forward-looking set of integrated policies, connecting the Green Deal with the main economic and financial mechanisms governing the EU, members agree.

Markku Markkula, First Vice-president and head of the CoR delegation at COP25 said: “The European Union needs to keep leading the fight against global warming.  The communication on the Green Deal comes very timely as we are entering the final phase of the negotiations for the full implementation of the Paris agreement. The CoR reiterates its commitments to fully contribute to the objectives of the Green Deal yet ensuring cities and regions are fully on board, leaving no one behind."

The Green Deal communication presents an initial roadmap of the key policies and measures needed to achieve Europe's transition towards climate neutrality by 2050.

At COP25, members share the will to engage the European Committee of the Regions on the numerous legislative works ahead. These include energy efficiency, renewables, mobility, circular economy, forests and the blue economy amongst others.

The CoR welcomes the prospect of raising the 2030 targets for reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) to 50% and to work towards 55%. It nevertheless regrets no indication of higher objectives for renewable energy sources and energy efficiency is included.

The CoR welcomes the measures foreseen to tackle energy poverty, in particular the announced financing schemes for renovating private households as well as the 'renovation wave' initiative for the entire building sector.

The CoR is ready to cooperate in order to build the Commission's Climate Pact 'together with citizens national, regional, and local authorities including EU consultative bodies'. It also welcomes the reference to regions facing the greatest challenges.

In particular, the CoR welcomes the Just Transition Mechanism, including a Just Transition Fund for coal and carbon-intensive regions and sectors. It nevertheless stresses the need for additional resources for 2021-2027 on top of cohesion funds.

On transport, the CoR reiterates its call for a wider implementation of the polluter pays principle and the need to provide users with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternative mobility solutions. The CoR recalls cities and regions are key to deliver a full clean mobility transition. 

While members welcome the Green Deal's as the growth strategy to make the EU's economy carbon neutral, resource efficient and competitive, it regrets the lack of quantified targets on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Green Deal must be the driving force towards a more sustainable agricultural production and consumption in the European Union. The CoR reiterates its call for a 30% reduction in GHG emissions from agriculture and to double organic farming areas in Member States compared to 2017.

Members welcome the proposal of a European 'Climate Law' to enshrine the 2050 climate neutrality objective in March 2020. The Committee is willing to contribute to the removal of existing legislative inconsistencies, on the basis of local and regional authorities' experiences in implementing EU legislation and policy making.

In its resolution on the Green Deal, adopted on 5 December, the CoR proposed to launch a forum of cities and regions, the European Commission and Member States to follow up on the implementation of the Green Deal.


Read here the press release on the Green Deal resolution adopted by the European Committee of the Regions at the plenary session 5 December 2019.

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