Reducing harmful pollution in urban water, protecting citizens from asbestos and improving air quality were three of the main topics discussed at the meeting of the ENVE Commission of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on 14 February. The priorities of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the results of the United Nations convention on biodiversity – COP15 – were also on the discussion table, along with the priorities of the ENVE commission for 2023.
Opening the meeting,
Rafał Trzaskowski (PL/EPP), Mayor of Warsaw and Chair of the
and of the
Green Deal Going Local
working group, said:
"2022 was a difficult year for all Europeans. We were confronted with
soaring energy prices. We had to protect many EU citizens and business
who could not afford energy bills. We provided humanitarian support to
Ukrainians seeking refuge from the war. And we continued suffering from
climate change as we experienced the hottest summer ever recorded in
Europe. Despite this, EU local and regional authorities have put
emergency measures in place to reduce energy consumption, boost energy
efficiency in buildings and public transport, and invest in renewables.
We also worked on urban greening and in improving biodiversity and the
quality of our air, water and soils. And we have achieved this even
lacking adequate financial and technical support. This shows our
collective ambition and will to take action also for the year to come."
Mayor Trzaskowski also called on the European Commission to provide direct
funds for local and regional authorities to implement ambitious Green Deal
projects on the ground.
The ENVE commission appointed
Rafał Trzaskowski (PL/EPP)
as CoR rapporteur on COP28, the next
United Nations climate conference – UNFCCC, which is to take place in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12
Joško Klisović (HR/PES), President of the Assembly of the City of Zagreb, has been appointed CoR
rapporteur of the opinion 'Towards a multilevel Green Deal governance: the
revision of the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action
The 2023 priorities of the ENVE commission include continuous support to
deliver on the
EU's Zero Pollution Ambition
and on the finalisation of the concrete instruments to speed up the energy
transition and face the energy crisis, as enshrined in the
Fit for 55 package
REPowerEU. The mid- and long-term perspectives of the
European Green Deal
– in terms of the overall framework, governance and implementation
mechanisms – will also be in the spotlight in 2023. The ENVE commission
will continue working to ensure the presence of cities and regions at the
United Nations climate and biodiversity summits as well as pushing to
achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, building on its strong
engagement with the
Covenant of Mayors
and other relevant initiatives.
Members had an exchange of views on the
'Revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive', a draft opinion led by rapporteur
Åsa Ågren Wikström (SE/EPP), Member of Västerbotten County Council. While over 90% of urban wastewater
is in line with EU standards, there is still pollution to be addressed. The
CoR is therefore contributing to
the EU’s Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, adopted in 1991. Urban
wastewater is one of the main sources of water pollution if it is not
properly collected and treated. Of the toxic pollutants found in
wastewater, 92% come from the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors.
Frida Nilsson (SE/Renew)
, Member of Linköping Municipality, and
Roby Biwer (LU/PES), member of the Bettembourg city council, presented the main achievements
of the CoR's participation at the
United Nations Convention on biodiversity - COP15
in Montreal, stressing that the Committee is explicitly mentioned in the
final COP15 decision as a key partner in supporting the implementation of
Plan of Action
on subnational governments to the
Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Synergising climate and biodiversity agendas is a paramount challenge for
Hanna Zdanowska (PL/EPP)
presented the main points of her draft opinion on
'Amending the Directive on Asbestos'
which is to be adopted a the
CoR plenary session on 15-16 March. Asbestos is a highly dangerous, cancer-causing substance that is still
present in many buildings and is responsible for many avoidable deaths in
Members debated the priorities of the Swedish Presidency on energy security
and the climate transition with Arvid Palmkvist, from the
Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU and Sara Nelen, Deputy Head of Cabinet of the European
Commission's Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans.
The upcoming opinion by
Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA), member of the Flemish parliament, on
'Fostering the potential and synergies of EU Green Deal initiatives
for regions and cities'
was the subject of an exchange of views. The working document of the
opinion was presented by
Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis (FR/EA)
, Member of the Regional Corsican Assembly.
Members had an exchange of views on the CoR opinion on the
'Revision of the EU Ambient Air Quality Legislation'
Una POWER (IE/Greens)
, Councillor for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.
The meeting included a presentation of the
Partnerships for Regional Innovation
and of the
Green Deal Going Local Handbook on climate adaptation
, an interactive toolkit that provides information on financial aid and
technical instruments to deploy climate adaptation measures based on
different geographical areas and regional specificities.
The next meeting of the ENVE commission will take place in Brussels on 10
During its plenary session on 8-9 February 2023, the CoR adopted an
on 'Cities and regions responding to the energy crisis: towards a real
European Energy Union'. The resolution builds on the CoR's work on the 'Fit
for 55' package and REPowerEU and lays out three main elements to fight the
energy crisis: ambition, implementation and social cohesion. In this
regard, the ENVE commission will be following up on the key proposals in
the text, including the establishment of dedicated One Stop Shop for
REPowerEU, reinforcement of the legislative framework to fight energy
poverty, and the REPowerEU chapters in national Recovery and Resilience
Zero Pollution Going Local.
The 'One Health' approach must be at the forefront of the EU's Zero
European Commission Urban wastewater
Green Deal Going Local.