To highlight the local and regional dimension in EU energy policy, in particular, in the context of renewable energy and energy infrastructure, as well as energy efficiency and energy technology development.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the fact that the European Commission, in its communication on Energy 2020 – a strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy has given focus to municipalities as a major actor in the development of innovative integrated energy solutions at local level and acknowledges in particular the commitment of the European Commission to strengthen initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors; regrets, however, that the important role of regions has not been made explicit in the Communication;
- notes the ambitious requirements for the local and regional contribution towards the achievement of the EU's energy policy objectives contained in the Energy 2020 communication on one hand, and regrets, on the other hand, the absence of specific new commitments concerning the financing and funding of local and regional sustainable energy investment;
- calls for the reduction of energy needs to be treated as an absolute priority and emphasises, as the European Parliament did in its June 2010 resolution on the Europe 2020 strategy, the need to set a binding target to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020. Accordingly, there is a need to clearly identify the different levels of action in order to ensure compliance with measures and their overall coordination and consistency;
- calls for energy policy to be included among the top priorities of the EU budget, so that it may receive a greater share of the funding available under the cohesion policy. Establishing priorities for specific support under the Structural Funds must be a matter for the local and regional level.