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Cities and regions key to deliver EU green priorities over next five years  

​​The European Committee of the Regions calls for regulatory certainty and financial incentives to speed up Europe's clean energy transition including a cohesion policy Transition Allocation of €4.8 billion to green coal regions

Bucharest has hosted the 24th meeting of the Commission for Environment, Climate change and Energy of the European Committee of the Regions. Measures to move forward the implementation of the Paris climate agreement, the role of cities and regions in delivering the EU’s clean energy package and the Sustainable Development Goals were the three main topics on the agenda. In partnership with the European Commission, the Romanian EU Presidency and the Association of Romanian Municipalities, the CoR is also taking part in the 12th SET PLAN conference 'Making the energy transition happen locally' from 12 to 14 June 2019.

Members adopted the draft opinion 'Implementing the Clean Energy Package: the National Energy a​​nd Climate Plans (NECPs) as a tool for local and territorial governance approach to climate, active ​and passive energy' . Rapporteur József Ribányi (HU/EPP), Vice-President of the County Council of Tolna Megye said: " Member States must critically assess the multilevel climate and energy dialogues they have in place to ensure that local and regional authorities are closely involved as stated by the Energy Union governance regulation. It is through these dialogues that cites and regions but also civil society, businesses and relevant stakeholders, can engage in the definition and implementation of energy and climate strategies and action plans. We must not forget that cities and regions manage large building stocks and public transport networks, hold direct competencies in urban planning and land management, and operate as regulators of decentralised energy generation. As the assembly representing cities and regions in the EU, we aim at contributing to National Energy and Climate Plans and, in particular, to the multilevel climate and energy dialogues ."

Members adopted the draft opinion 'Sustainable Europe by 2030, follow-up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The Paris Agreement on Climate Change' . Rapporteur Sirpa Hertell (FI/EPP), City Councillor of Espoo called for an overarching EU SDGs Strategy to guide all the EU policies and actions. Rapporteur Hertell said: " “We need to have a systemic approach to avoid fragmented and contradictory policies Cities and regions must be empowered as they are responsible for 65% of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Europe. Localising sustainable development actions in climate, energy and environmental policies is crucial to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The CoR calls for the setting out of integrated, inclusive local goals and targets, implementation actions and indicators to measure and monitor progress on implementing SDGs in line with the principle of multi-level governance ."

Members adopted the draft opinion 'Implementing the Paris Agreement through innovative and sustainable energy transition at regional and local level' . Rapporteur Witold STĘPIEŃ (PL/EPP), Member of the Łódzkie Regional Assembly, said: “ Achieving the Paris Agreement requires higher ambition and a rapid transition towards a sustainable and innovative energy system. The involvement of European cities and regions, as well as citizens, is crucial given their responsibilities in energy production, distribution and consumption. Local and regional authorities should be considered as essential partners by national governments and have better access to finance, to new technologies and to capacity building programmes in order to ensure a fair energy transition in coal regions but also carbon intense regions and islands across Europe.”

The European Committee of the Regions calls for a Transition Allocation of €4.8 billion under the 2021-2027 cohesion policy to facilitate a sustainable transition in coal regions. It also supports the raising of the level of permissible state aid for projects related to the energy transition in coal regions, as well as to increase the funding rate to profit-oriented organisations within dedicated EU programmes from 60 to 70%. The EU's assembly of cities and regions reiterates its call to earmark at least 30% of the next EU budget to climate policy mainstreaming.

Local leaders call on the European Commission and Member States to raise the target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 40 to 50% by 2030 and those for energy efficiency and renewables to 40% by 2030 (currently agreed at 32.5% and 32% respectively) as a crucial stepping-stone to achieve climate neutral Europe by 2050.

Members had an exchange of views on the 'Covenant of Mayors post 2020' drafted by rapporteur Benedetta Brighenti (IT/PES), Member of Castelnuovo Rangone Municipal Council in Modena. During the debate it was stressed that local leaders want more support for the almost 10.000 cities and regions that are voluntarily implementing Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs) under the Covenant of Mayors and to urgently develop the complementarity between Nationally Determined Contributions and Locally / Regionally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Note to editors:

Please click here to download pictures from the ENVE commission meeting.

Please click h​ere to download pictures of the SET PLAN conference.

All documents of the ENVE Commission meeting can be downloaded here.

NECPs stands for National Energy and Climate Plans. These are to include Member States' energy and climate strategies and actions for the period 2021-2030 to contribute to the EU's 2030 targets. Member States needed to submit their NECP drafts by the end of 2018. They must now prepare and submit their final versions by 31 December this year. The legislative resolution on the Governance of the Energy Union adopted in November 2018 calls on Member States to establish multilevel climate and energy dialogues that include local and regional authorities.

Read here the European Parliament legislative resolution on the Governance of the Energy Union.

The CoR is contributing to the European Commission's Reflection Paper 'Sustainable Europe by 2030' released in January 2019 with a second opinion, entitled 'Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a basis for a long-term EU strategy for a sustainable Europe by 2030' . The rapporteur is Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP), member of the Zarasai District Municipal Council and Head of the Lithuanian delegation to the CoR. The opinion is to be adopted next plenary session 26-27 June 2019.

According to the EU's Joint Research Centre , hard coal and lignite mining takes place in 41 regions across 12 Member States. Coal activities in the EU provide direct jobs to about 240,000 people: Poland sees the highest employment rate in coal mining (over 99,000), followed by Germany (25,000), The Czech Republic (18,000), Romania (15,000) and Bulgaria (12,000).

The cohesion policy Transition Allocation of €4.8 billion to green coal regions is a key proposal also included in the Commission for Economic Policy (ECON) opinion ‘The socio-economic transformation of Europe's coal regions’ by rapporteur Mark Speich (DE/EPP), Secretary of State for Federal, European and International Affairs of North-Rhine Westphalia.

Contact: David Crous | | +32 (0) 470 88 10 37

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