The Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has elected the Mayor of Schiedam, Cor Lamers (NL/EPP), as its new Chair. The election took place shortly before members held a debate with Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the CoR, on ‘Reflecting on the future of Europe – the environmental dimension’. President Lambertz, who will lead the CoR delegation to the COP23 in November, reiterated the frontline role cities and regions play in the fight against global warming. Roby Biwer (LU/PES), Member of the Bettembourg Municipal Council in Luxembourg was elected ENVE’s first Vice-Chair while Valter Flego (HR/ALDE), Prefect of the Istra County in Croatia, will be ENVE’s second Vice-Chair.
Speaking after his election on Monday 18 September, Cor Lamers declared: “I want to be an inclusive chair and give ENVE members the space and opportunity to get involved in issues of their interest and expertise. My political objective is to pursue efforts towards building more sustainable cities and regions and finding a balance between the economic, social and environmental development of our communities. The shift towards a circular economy and the support for eco-innovative SMEs is essential for that purpose.” Cor Lamers will be part of the CoR delegation to COP23 in Bonn. The Mayor of Schiedam has been a member of the CoR since February 2007.
Lamers recalled the importance of cooperating with other EU institutions, highlighting the aim of establishing regular meetings between the CoR and the European Parliament’s ENVI and ITRE committees. Ahead of COP23 in Bonn, Lamers stressed the ‘need to identify clear areas of cooperation with US Mayors within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2010, and with the Canadian mayors that we are going to meet in Bonn.”
President Lambertz congratulated Francesco Pigliaru for his commitment and achievements and welcomed Cor Lamers as the new chair of the ENVE commission. President Lambertz said: "Energy and climate issues must be at the very heart of Europe's future. Regions and cities are on the frontline which is why we need EU environmental policy that is easy to deliver locally to ensure local and regional governments are fully on board. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that the EU does benefit the lives of all our citizens and proves that Europe is ready for the challenges of the 21st century."
Cities and regions want to give environmental policy a stronger focus within the ongoing reflection on the future of Europe. The EU's assembly of cities and regions is contributing to the debate by holding citizens' dialogues across the European Union, led by CoR members, and through the adoption of Resolution on the EC White Paper on the Future of Europe . Environmental legislation is one of the greatest successes in European integration, also in citizen's views, as it is perceived as 'necessary to protect the environment' by 75% of Europeans, according to a recent Eurobarometer.
The debate included the interventions of Jeremy Wates, Secretary-General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Marjolein Demmers, President of Ecopreneur and Gilles Gantelet, Director for Policy at DG Environment – European Commission.
The ENVE commission adopted two draft opinions.
ENVE members had an exchange of views on an upcoming opinion for ' Promoting coexistence with conflict species within the framework of the EU Nature Directives ' by rapporteur Csaba Borboly (RO/EPP).
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