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Boosting green investments and increasing direct funds for cities and regions remains a key priority for local leaders in 2023  

On 7 March, the 12th meeting of the Green Deal Going Local (GDGL) working group adopted its 2023 roadmap and discussed ways to boost green investments and innovative financing to allow local and regional authorities to push the climate-neutral transition forward. The 2023 roadmap includes three main political objectives: reinforcing multi-level governance, mobilising financial resources and moving towards a fairer Green Deal.

Rafał ​​​Trz​askowski (PL/EPP), Mayor of Warsaw and Chair of the ENVE commission and of the Green Deal Going Local working group, said: " Local and regional leaders play a key role in delivering the Green Deal on the ground. We are strongly committed to diversify away from Russian energy imports, help citizens and SMEs with their energy bills, and cooperate with private local investors to boost sustainable investment in order to meet the climate neutrality objectives. However, the energy transition can only happen if we have proper financial and technical resources. Unfortunately, in many Member States, we cannot count on help from national governments. That is why cities and regions reiterate their call for direct EU funding to make public buildings more energy-efficient, public transport greener, and renewable energy more accessible to our citizens."

Hanna Zdanowska (PL/EPP), Mayor of Łódź, said: "The green transformation is a great opportunity to modernise public infrastructure and strengthen local economies. But in order to invest, we need adequate financial resources. Unfortunately, most local governments are not able to generate sufficient funds to implement their ecological aspirations. For instance, to realise our dreams of a green Łódź, we need at least EUR 1.7 billion by 2030 for 77 projects, of which 65 will not be implemented without external financial support. Today, the flexibility of Polish local governments is very limited, with repayable financial mechanisms currently not available to us. Therefore, I call for non-repayable funds for the implementation of climate goals."

Joško Klisović (HR/PES) , President of the Assembly of the city of Zagreb, said: "We are at the final big policy push before next year's European elections. Social Democrats will fight to guarantee the fairness of the green and digital transitions with a solid cohesion policy. Now that we have ambitious EU energy and climate targets, we need an effective implementation mechanism with multi-level governance at its core. The regulation on the 'Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action' will be soon revised. We want it to be ambitious in its approach and to become the backbone for the governance of the future European Green Deal!"

József Kóbor (HU/EA), member of the local government of Pécs, said: "There is a need for more clarity on the way the Green Deal objectives are delivered on the ground. If the EU is to achieve its targets, it should avoid sending mixed messages on topical issues such as Taxonomy, where only truly green investments should be supported." Referring to electric mobility and pointing to the case of Hungary, Mr Kóbor warned against the EU's reliance on a single supplier for the production of batteries and called for more support to implement the Green Deal, stressing that "We receive a lot of support for planning but it is now key to move on and find resources and investors to deliver concrete projects with tangible impact" .

Sebastian Łukaszewicz (PL/ECR), Deputy President of the Podlaskie region, said: "Public finance from Member States and EU programmes is not enough to provide the funds needed to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The transition brings serious challenges and it will have asymmetric social, environmental and economic effects that may cause new disparities between regions. Therefore, private finance will be needed to help municipalities, local authorities, and local public entities in meeting the ambitious climate targets and implementing energy action plans by helping them overcome major barriers in accessing finance. Without this commitment, it will be difficult for the EU to remain competitive."

In a debate on the future of the Green Deal, the European Commission's Elisa Roller announced a series of upcoming proposals, including a net-zero plan for industry, a proposal for a critical raw materials act and a plan to create a hydrogen bank, in addition to the update of the EU's taxonomy expected in June 2023.

Members exchanged views on the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) from a Green Deal perspective with European Commission's DG BUDG Bernhard Windisch. CoR members called for additional funds to accelerate the climate-neutral transition and to increase direct budget lines for local and regional authorities – following the example of the EU Missions in Horizon Europe. The CoR's COTER commission is currently working on an opinion entitled 'Mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework: the regional and local viewpoint'. The opinion, whose rapporteur is Thomas Habermann (DE/EPP) , District Commissioner of Rhön-Grabfeld, is to be adopted in May 2023.

In an exchange on how to bridge the Green Deal funding gap, The EU's CINEA agency presented specific programmes that support cities and regions in delivering green projects on the ground, such as the European City Facility and the newly launched Green Assist, a new investment advisory service under InvestEU . Green Assist is funded by the LIFE programme and aims to help establish a pipeline for green investment projects with a high impact.

Dana Eleftheriadou from the European Commission's DG GROW presented the Intelligent Cities Challenge, an instrument to develop Local Green Deals, boost local economies and support SMEs in reskilling and upskilling the workforce with the aim of delivering the green and digital transitions.

The next meeting of the GDGL working group will take place on 30 May in Brussels.

Background:

The working documents of the meeting are available here. You can also watch the meeting here.

Green Deal Going Local is a flagship initiative of the European Committee of the Regions that aims at placing cities and regions at the heart of the EU’s climate-neutral transition.

Contact:

David Crous // david.crous@cor.europa.eu // +32 (0) 470 881 037


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