The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the need to improve our buildings from
an energy, social and environmental perspective with the objective of
reducing energy consumption, improving well-being, putting an end to energy
poverty, boosting jobs and relaunching the construction sector in a
sustainable way. The
is key for the EU to deliver on the
European Green Deal
, the EU's growth strategy to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Currently, only 1% of buildings in the EU undergo energy
efficient renovation annually.
The multilevel dialogue was opened by
Vasco Alves Cordeiro
(PT/PES), First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions and
Member of the Azores Regional Parliament, declaring:
"We are at the beginning of our economic recovery but this is not an
excuse to ignore the impending climate emergency. The climate targets
we are setting in the Climate Law will not be achieved unless we start
our climate and energy transition immediately. We also know that we
must deliver on our commitment to climate neutrality at all levels of
government and that our local communities will play a crucial role in
this. Making our buildings energy efficient means saving money,
reducing emissions, rethinking our cities and tackling energy poverty.
We need to ensure local and regional governments are included in the
decision-making, have the capacity and have easy access to the
unprecedented EU budget and recovery and resilience funds available. We
all need to take responsibility and leadership in these difficult
, Chair of the Energy Working Party of the Portuguese Presidency of the
Council of the EU, said:
"In a spirit of cooperation and transparency, the proposal of the
Portuguese Presidency for the Council conclusions on the Renovation
Wave aims at uniting us all under our common goals: the social,
economic and energy improvement of our buildings that brings along a
sustainable transformation and recovery of our society."
(IT/PES), Municipal Councillor of Signa Municipality and rapporteur on the
CoR opinion on the Renovation wave
"Local and regional authorities are aware of the need to seize the
opportunities presented by the national Recovery and Resilience Plans.
In this context, the Renovation Wave is needed to build a sustainable
future, by modernising the existing building stock. But the proposals
of the Recovery and Resilience Plans are not enough, we need certainty
on timing and, above all, greater involvement of local and regional
authorities, as we requested in the opinion I drafted for the European
Committee of the Regions, with the idea of opening local
One-Stop-Shops. We need concrete results."
(FI/EPP), Chair of the Espoo City Board and President of the Helsinki
"On behalf of the EPP, I stress the potential of using the recovery and
resilience funds for an extensive business and economic transformation.
In each Member State, this requires systemic measures based on a
combination of reforms and private industrial investments to support
sustainable growth and repair the damage caused by the COVID-19
pandemic. We need public-private partnerships to leverage investments
to improve energy systems at the local level, such as the Espoo Clean
Heat programme, a cornerstone of our strategy to be amongst the first
carbon-neutral cities by 2030."
(FI/Renew Europe), Chair of the Oulu City Board, said: "
We must fully integrate the digital transformation of our buildings if
we are to maximise the potential for energy savings. We must also
ensure the circularity of the construction sector, and incentivise the
use of sustainable materials such as wood and eco-concrete, which
benefit healthy indoor air. We encourage the system of electronic
renovation cards of the city of Oulu as a method to directly involve
citizens and to accelerate the renovation of buildings in local
Bernd Claus Voß
(DE/Greens), Co-President of The Greens group in the CoR and Member of the
State Parliament of Schleswig-Holstein, said:
"We must act effectively and quickly to give the next generation the
freedom it needs to shape its future in a climate-neutral and
self-determined way. Now we still have the freedom to make the right
decisions on climate protection and the energy transition. Next
Generation EU must not entail leaving the burden of poor policies to
the next generation."
(BE/EA), member of the Flemish Parliament, declared:
"Investing into the renovation of buildings is key to ensuring a
sustainable recovery and create new jobs in our regions and cities.
With its long term 2050 renovation strategy, Flanders has committed to
renovate almost 3 million homes (96,5 % of the housing stock) and to
reduce energy consumption while making sure the transition to a climate
neutral Europe is affordable for business and citizens."
Jakub Piotr Chełstowski
(PL/ECR), Marshal of the Śląskie Voivodeship, declared:
"The objectives of the Renovation Wave are ambitious and we fully
endorse them. However, we need support to implement such an ambitious
strategy including technical assistance, training and upskilling
employees and strengthening the capabilities of local and regional
authorities, which have significant competences in the construction and
renovation of buildings. In my hometown in Silesia, we have already
modernised a large part of public buildings. We would now like to
extend it to our entire region and we count on the EU to support us."
From the European Parliament,
MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri
(FI/S&D), member of the ITRE Committee, said:
"We believe that a fast and efficient implementation of the Renovation
Wave strategy can be a real win-win: emissions can be cut, local jobs
created and living conditions improved for a huge number of Europeans.
To succeed, the strategy must be well implemented across the EU by
bringing together all actors involved, with Member States and regional
and local authorities being able to tackle obstacles at all stages of
From the European Commission's DG ENER, Paula Rey Garcia and Hadrien Michel
stressed the availability of direct grants, loans and innovative financial
instruments, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, including
the continuation of the
facility, put at the disposal of Member States and local and regional
authorities to complement public funding with private investments in order
to drive forward the Renovation Wave.
The following Permanent Representations to the EU participated in this
multilevel climate and energy dialogue: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus,
Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.
Several Member States gave details on the way they have involved cities and
regions in their Recovery and Resilience Plans, going from structured
direct consultation to information exchanges. In terms of implementation,
participants converged on the need to involve cities and regions to turn
the Renovation Wave into concrete benefits for every local community.
Participants recalled the need to develop a
skilled workforce and foster capacity building while facilitating the flow
of information to project promoters. 'One-stop-shops' at the regional and
local level could speed up investments, reducing delays for permit granting
and directing financial support where it is most needed. Adapting buildings
to the risks of earthquakes came out as an important element to consider in
several countries like Italy and Croatia. The renovation of buildings must
come along with a stronger circularity in the construction sector,
incentivising the use of eco-materials and the deployment of digital
technologies to maximise energy efficiency and turn buildings into active
Today's third multilevel climate and energy dialogue on the Renovation Wave
in Recovery and Resilience Plans, organized together with the Portuguese
Presidency of the Council of the EU, is a follow-up to the one organised
last October 2020 in cooperation with the Germany Presidency of the Council
of the EU. Improving vertical coordination through multi-level dialogues is
also the result of the enhanced cooperation agreement between the European
Commission and the EU's assembly of local and regional representatives. The
objective is to ensure that the European Green Deal turns into concrete
opportunities and benefits for local and regional communities across the
The European Commission published the
Renovation Wave Strategy
on 14 October 2020. The renovation of buildings is one of the nine policy
areas included in the
European Green Deal
, the EU's growth strategy to reach climate neutrality by 2020.
With nearly 34 million Europeans unable to afford keeping their homes
heated, public policies to deliver energy efficient buildings are crucial
to put an end to energy poverty. The Renovation Wave has a huge potential
for growth and jobs. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and
up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.
The CoR recently adopted an
opinion on the Renovation Wave
that urged the European Commission and Member States to establish easier,
faster and more flexible financing mechanisms for local and regional
authorities to undertake projects to renovate existing buildings and to
increase the rates of social housing. The CoR opinion, led by rapporteur
(IT/PES), Municipal Councillor of Signa Municipality, urged the European
Commission and Member States to fully incorporate the Renovation Wave into
the Recovery and Resilience Plans as well as in the European Structural and
Investment Funds (ESIF).
As part of the CoR's 'Building resilient communities' priority,
Green Deal Going Local
(GDGL) is an initiative which aims to place cities and regions at the core
of the EU's strategy towards climate neutrality and ensure that the
COVID-19 recovery and resilience plans translate into direct funding for
cities and regions and tangible benefits for every community in the EU.
David Crous Duran //
Berta López Domenech //