15 June 2020
The European Green Deal is Going Local

The European Green Deal is Going Local

The European Committee of the Regions has launched today the “Green Deal Going Local” Working Group to ensure that cities and regions can get the European Green Deal off the ground with concrete projects and direct funding to local and regional authorities. Composed of 13 local and regional elected representatives, its objective is to guarantee that EU cities and regions are directly involved in the definition, in the implementation and in the assessment of the numerous initiatives under the European Green Deal.

Juan Espadas, Mayor of Seville (Spain), Chair of the Commission for the Environment, Climate change and Energy (ENVE) and Chair of the EU Green Deal Working Group, said:

“The world is facing the most severe recession in living memory, but we must not forget that the climate challenge has not gone away. The European Green Deal is the best tool we have to tackle both crises at once. It is the opportunity to invest in clean public transports, in renewable energy, in affordable insulated housing, in sustainable agriculture, and in the protection of biodiversity. It is a positive revolution but it cannot be achieved without the full involvement of cities and regions and without European support. As President of the Working Group, I want to ensure that our demands are heard loud and clear.”

Isabelle Boudineau, Vice-President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region (France) and Chair of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions, observed:

“Cities and regions are at the forefront of public investments towards sustainable development and they are the best guarantees of the implementation of the Green Deal. The European institutions and national governments must put their trust in us and we will show that a just ecological transition is possible. We owe it to our citizens and to the future generations.”

Roby Biwer, Member of the Municipal Council of Bettembourg (Luxembourg) and Coordinator of the PES Group of the Commission for the Environment, Climate change and Energy (ENVE) in the European Committee of the Regions, explained:

“The climate, the COVID, the biodiversity and the economic crisis, that we are facing now, all reveal the same thing: we need to change the way we live on and with this planet. We have to find a sustainable way of life in line with the UN's SDGs, cutting CO2 emissions drastically to achieve climate neutrality at the latest by 2050. We have to change the way we farm, eat, move and work, in order to protect biodiversity as well as the air, the water and the soil. The European Union has a particular responsibility to lead on this globally, and the Green Deal (as part of a sustainable recovery effort and with a strong involvement of the local and regional levels) is the best instrument we have to achieve these goals.”

Donatella Porzi, Regional Councillor for the region of Umbria (Italy), added:

“Our regions need financial support from the European Union for recovery. However, we must not forget that another crisis is just as urgent to address: the climate crisis. The European Green Deal proposed by the European Commission under the incentive of First Vice-President Timmermans represents an opportunity not to be missed for our territories. Clean public transports, renewable energy and redeveloping private and especially public buildings (such as schools and hospitals). It is precisely we, the local and regional authorities, who are at stake in this challenge, and I am convinced that we will rise to it to build together a sustainable future in the spirit of renewed European solidarity.”

Manuela Bora, Regional Minister of the Marche Region (Italy) for Productive Activities and EU affairs and Coordinator of the PES Group of the Commission for Regional Policy and the EU Budget (COTER) in the European Committee of the Regions, was unable to attend this first meeting due to the impending birth of her child. She nevertheless shared the following:

“For our region, being part of the European Green Deal Working Group of the Committee of the Regions does not only represent a confirmation of all the work done by our Administration for the climate transition. It is also the conviction that only by working together with other regions and the European institutions will we be able to face this difficult double challenge of the climate and economic crises. I thank Donatella Porzi for presenting the position of the Socialist Group in this first debate. The European Green Deal will be crucial for the recovery of our territories and to ensure that nobody is left behind.” 

The PES Group members who are a part of this Working Group are: 

  • Roby Biwer (LU)
  • Manuela Bora (IT)
  • Isabelle Boudineau (FR)
  • Juan Espadas Cejas (ES)

And their alternates are: 

  • Joan Calabuig Rull (ES)
  • Christophe Clergeau (FR)
  • Frederick Cutajar (MT)
  • Donatella Porzi (IT)

***

The first paragraph has been adapted from the official press release of the European Committee of the Regions.

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

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