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EU local and regional authorities, SMEs and households need targeted support by EU emergency funds to revert the energy crisis  
Electricity prices have risen by 35% in the past year, putting local and regional authorities in a very difficult situation.

As inflation and high energy prices continue to mark the political agenda in the European Union, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) advocates for cities and regions, small businesses and households to have direct access to EU technical and financial support to tackle the energy crisis, help vulnerable households and move climate action forward. At the recent UN's COP27 climate talks, the CoR led a coalition of mayors and global networks calling to empower subnational governments as to accelerate climate action and resilience, taking the floor at the COP27 closing plenary in Sharm-El-Sheikh.

During the 1st December plenary session, the members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) discussed the consequences of the energy crisis for European households with Czech Deputy Prime Minister, Marian Jurečka, leading members of the European Parliament and the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Liliana Pavlova.

The President of the European Committee of the Regions, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, said: " The energy crisis is harming the social cohesion of our communities. Its impact has two dimensions: it is not only about households and citizens, but also about our local and regional administrations, which are under great pressure to deliver and whose budgets are overstretched. While EU leaders are having very relevant discussions on overarching measures to ensure the EU's energy security and address the systemic issue of the energy market, let us not forget the need for concrete actions to relieve the pressure on people and also on local and regional authorities. No mayor or president of region can find replies alone. We need to act together and we need all EU institutions on our side, to give us the tools to provide support to citizens."

Rafał Trzaskowski (PL/EPP), Chair of the ENVE commission of the Green Deal Going Local working group, said: " In Warsaw, 10 percent of citizens are affected by energy poverty and numbers are growing as we fail to deliver concrete solutions more rapidly. Only 1 percent of buildings undergo renovation in Europe annually, which is a heavy break to decreasing energy bills. We need immediate responses, including fast-tracking procedures for local and regional authorities to have additional funds to tackle the energy crisis locally. Much stronger cooperation is needed between EU institutions with higher involvement of cities and regions in EU policymaking, in order to build synergies and move the energy transition and climate agenda forward. As COP27 failed to deliver higher climate ambition from national governments, cities and regions are taking over climate leadership. We are on the front line of the energy and climate crisis, but we are also in the vanguard of change."

Marian Jurečka, Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said: " Cities and regions have a key role to play in the current energy crisis. As the elected representatives closest to citizens, your efforts are crucial to save vulnerable households and business from falling into energy poverty. The solution to avoid that inflation and high energy prices turn into a massive economic and social crisis is cooperation. The energy transformation is also an opportunity for endangered coal regions but an effective European Social Climate Fund must be fully operational urgently. Europe cannot be left without the voice of the cities and regions, as you are the driving force for the roll-out of energy communities. I welcome the hard work of the European Committee of the Regions in solving the energy crisis. Your cooperation with the Czech Presidency has been exemplary."

Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, said: “The current rise in energy prices, which is particularly affecting households, is a clear signal that we must invest even more and even faster in the green transition to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. The EIB Group is committed to supporting this transition through its financial and advisory services, including facilities targeted to the needs of cities and regions. With our goal to support €1 trillion in green investments by 2030 globally, the EIB Group can make a crucial contribution to REPowerEU, building on our long and solid track record in supporting the EU’s energy sector."

With the European Commission is to present ideas to reform electricity markets in the first quarter of 2023, the EU's assembly of cities and regions has the called for local and regional authorities (LRAs) to be at the heart of any adjustments, ensuring mandatory consultation mechanisms as those foreseen in the Energy Governance Regulation, through Multilevel Energy and Climate Dialogues. The CoR argues that Cohesion Funds for 2021-2027 must be preserved for investments in long-term energy transition measures.

Background

Between 2019 and 2022, on average, the energy expenditure share in households budget increased by more than one-third and almost doubled in some countries. Electricity prices have risen by 35% in the past year ( Eurostat data September 2022 ).

Eurostat estimates that about 35 million EU citizens were unable to keep their homes adequately warm in 2020 . The energy crisis is being exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, worsening already difficult situations for households and SMEs (State of the Energy Union 2022 report) , which is substantially increasing energy poverty rates.

On Wednesday, 30 November 2022, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee signed a new environmental policy that includes a commitment to reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions. The new environmental policy is available on the EESC website and the CoR website.

Under the coordination of the Green Deal Going Local working group , the CoR is monitoring the development of energy and climate legislative proposals, to ensure that LRAs effectively shape Green Deal legislation by strengthening the cooperation with the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. Read our dedicated news portal here.

We deliver climate action: EU cities and regions at COP27.

Contact:

David Crous

Tel. +32 470 881 037

david.crous@cor.europa.eu


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