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Europe's energy transition and climate-neutrality gain EU's centre stage  

​ENVE members agree to propose a CoR Resolution on the European Commission's 'Green Deal'​

The future of the Covenant of Mayors, environmental policy in small communities, smart cities and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been under discussion at the 25th meeting of the Commission for the environment, climate change and energy (ENVE). With Europe's Green Deal ranking first amid the priorities laid down by European Commission's President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, Europe’s sustainable energy transition and climate-neutrality have gained the EU's centre stage.

Opening the meeting, Cor Lamers (NL/PES), Chair of the ENVE Commission and Mayor of Schiedam, said: "I am very happy to see that the European Commission's President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, has put a strong emphasis on sustainability and climate change as reflected in one of the top EC priorities, the European Green Deal. We should put climate at the centre of our policies. We need to work together at all levels on different transitions: energy, mobility, food etc. And we need to take our citizens on board in implementing those changes."

Members adopted a draft opinion on the 'Covenant of Mayors post 2020' by rapporteur Benedetta Brighenti (IT/PES), Member of Castelnuovo Rangone Municipal Council (Modena). Rapporteur Brighenti said: "Strengthening the role of the Covenant of Mayors will be a crucial step towards fulfilling our obligations under the Paris Agreement and making the European Union carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest. The initiative brings together close to 10,000 local and regional authorities, which are committed to implementing an ambitious climate and energy policy on the ground. We can learn a lot from their bottom-up approach. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to secure the future of the Covenant beyond 2020. The European Committee of the Regions needs to act as a connecting link to the EU level." The final opinion is to be adopted at the plenary session 4-5 December 2019.

The Vice-President and Regional Minister for Economy of the Region of Sicily, Gaetano Armao (IT/EPP), presented a working document to launch an exchange of views on an upcoming opinion entitled 'Towards sustainable neighbourhoods and small communities - Environment policy below municipal level'. Rapporteur Armao declared: "There are many small communities that have specific environmental issues, such as air pollution, noise or waste management, and they have innovative ways of dealing with these issues. There is less support at EU level for sustainable communities below the municipal level. We need to encourage and empower them with targeted policies and funding to support their climate and sustainability efforts." The draft opinion will be adopted at the next ENVE commission meeting on 21 November. The final text is to be voted at the plenary session on 12-13 February 2020.

Members had an exploratory debate on the draft opinion 'Smart cities: new challenges for a just transition toward climate neutrality – how to implement the SDGs in real life?' Rapporteur Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA), Member of the Flemish Parliament, said: "Cities and communities have an important role to play in the transition to a resource-efficient, climate-neutral and biodiverse Europe. We need to create more and better opportunities to help and support local and regional actors in this evolution. A bottom-up approach, with smart actions evolving out of local cooperation will be necessary. This inclusivity is equally necessary to close the digital gap as to make sure that the weakest parties are not left behind in the transition towards a digital society." The opinion will be adopted at the next plenary session 8-9 October 2019.

ENVE members agreed to propose a CoR Resolution on the European Commission's 'Green Deal' – the first out of six priorities presented by Ursula von der Leyen in her political guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024. ENVE wants the CoR to contribute at an early stage and at the highest level to the development of the Green Deal through a Resolution adopted by all CoR members.  

Background information

The photos of the 25th ENVE Commission meeting are now available here

Please click here to access the documents of the 25th meeting of the CoR's Commission for the environment, climate change and energy (ENVE).

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