The energy crisis remains a major concern for local and regional leaders across the EU. Therefore, it is crucial to empower regions and cities to strengthen their capacity to build resilient communities in order to limit the EU's dependency on fossil fuels. Decentralised energy production, energy efficiency and saving plans on a local and regional level will ensure the achievement of the
. Current threats to Europe’s energy security and supply are not an alternative to the climate-neutral transition, local leaders recalled.
The current geopolitical situation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine
has changed the energy market radically. The energy crisis, caused by the
war, however does not change the urgency to fight climate change. The
phasing-out of fossil fuels is more important than ever. The REPowerEU
plan, which was adopted by the European Commission on 18 May, puts a strong
focus on immediate actions on energy efficiency and savings, giving local
and regional authorities a major role in this regard, and includes
recommendations on speeding up permitting renewable energy projects.
Members of the European Committee of the Regions' (CoR)
Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy
(ENVE) highlighted in their meeting on 31 May that saving energy will be
the cleanest and most immediate way to increase independence from Russian
energy and underlined that regions and cities should continue to be the
leading political bodies in supporting citizens who are mostly affected by
the increasing energy prices. They further emphasised that the independence
from Russian energy is just another step towards more sustainable energy in
the EU and that environmental problems still remain, especially in rural
Opening the debate on the implications of the war in Ukraine for cities and
regions facing the energy crisis,
(HU/PES), Chair of the ENVE Commission and Deputy Mayor of Budapest,
Sustained high energy prices and the disruption of energy supply caused
by the illegal Russia’s war in Ukraine are damaging a large part of our
economies and exacerbating energy and mobility poverty. The proposals
within the REPowerEU plan should be the way to accelerate significantly
the clean energy transition, phasing out our dependency on fossil fuels
and not only diversifying its supply. We, cities and regions, are at
the core of the emergency response in this crisis with a view to
increasing renewables, energy sobriety and sufficiency in our
communities. We call therefore for a recognition of this role in the
The CoR has jointly launched with the
Covenant of Mayors
and the European Commission the "
Cities Energy Savings Sprint
", a communications campaign in the form of a toolkit that will help local
governments reduce municipal energy consumption and encourage citizens and
local business to take similar measures.
Moreover, ENVE Commission's members adopted the following three draft
opinions during the meeting:
Ecological transition - Which balance between social acceptability
and environmental imperatives to build resilient communities from
the point of view of cities and regions
, by rapporteur
(PL/EPP), Mayor of Łódź, who stated: "
Diversification and Europe's independence from Russian energy sources
is one of the priorities. Ensuring the access to heat and energy
sources for everyone, including less well - off, is another one. We
must work for energy efficiency and the fastest possible development of
renewable energy. Making our cities resilient is a recipe for the
survival, competitiveness and attractiveness of our cities and regions
for residents and investors
Revision of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
(FR/PES), Member of the Departmental Council of Aude, who stated:
"If we want to lower our energy bills and meet our climate targets by
2050, we need to be ambitious in decarbonizing the EU building stock
and truly fighting energy poverty. We need to have a single renovation
plan that can be implemented over years, which needs to be inclusive
and financially viable. The revision of the directive needs to focus on
the entire life cycle of buildings and embed circular economy in all
stages. This will happen only if adequate financial and technical
resources will be made available to cities and regions.
Green budget put into practice at local and regional levels
, by rapporteur
(FR/RE), Mayor of Autun, who declared in the margins of the meeting: "
Green budgeting should be a way we all approach our local and regional
budgets in the near future to better align our budgetary policies with
environmental goals. It can help local governments to prioritise and
select low-carbon and resilient investment projects and spending,
facilitates and improves the rationality of decisions, contributes to
improving the evaluation of public policies and responds to a growing
demand of transparency and accountability on subnational government
public action. It also raises several challenges for municipalities and
regions. This is why they will need a strong support from the European
Commission in the definition ‘green budget objectives' at local and
regional level, tools, methodologies, performance indicators and a list
of budgetary items for local and regional green budgeting.
Furthermore, ENVE members had a first exchange of views on the following
opinions: "Energy package on gas, hydrogen and methane emissions", by
Jakub Piotr Chełstowski
(PL/ECR), Marshal of the Śląskie Voivodeship, and "Towards a structural
inclusion of Cities and Regions in UNFCCC COP27", by rapporteur
(IE/PES), Dublin City Councillor.
The ENVE commission appointed
(FR/RE), Mayor of Marly, as rapporteur for the opinion on the "Industrial
Emissions Directive" and
(IT/PES), President of the Province of Lucca, as rapporteur on the opinion
"EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles".
are available through this
At the last plenary session, in April 2022, local and regional leaders
resolution on REPowerEU
and a first package of opinions contributing to the ongoing revision of the
Fit for 55 energy package
’ and the implementation of the
European Green Deal
at the local and regional level.
On 18 May 2022, the European Commission adopted a plan to make Europe
independent from Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible, starting with
gas, in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
seeks to diversify gas supplies, speed up the rollout of renewable gases
and replace gas in heating and power generation, which could reduce demand
for Russian gas by two thirds before the end of the year.
Through Green Deal Going Local, the European Committee of the Regions is
committed to support cities’ and regions in the EU’s transition towards
Green Deal Going Local
is a flagship initiative of the CoR that aims at placing cities and regions
at the heart of the EU’s climate-neutral transition. It includes several
calls to action such as
Trees for Life
survey to collect the views of cities and regions on the challenges
and opportunities of implementing the European Green Deal locally
and a call for all local and regional authorities to
share their climate commitments.
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