While the coronavirus pandemic is putting to the test the welfare states and the economies of just about every country in the European Union (and not only), there is no doubt that an urgent need for a new sustainable economic model exists. It should combine social and ecological progress, the improvement of people’s well-being and the fact of leaving no person and no region behind.
This should be the very objective of a progressive European Green Deal. Proposed by the European Commission in December 2019, the Green Deal should become a roadmap for making the EU economy sustainable by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas while ensuring that the green transition is just and inclusive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wakeup call, but the climate crisis has not gone away. We must thus be able to combine our recovery efforts with the opportunity of building a sustainable future.
For cities and regions, the European Green Deal represents the opportunity to build sustainable communities, by investing in clean public transport, renewable energy, affordable insulated housing, sustainable agriculture, and the protection of biodiversity. As progressive cities and regions, we will make sure that Europe delivers a Green Deal that is just and does not leave anyone behind.
All this and more will be discussed in Seville on 2 October. The event is organised by the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions with the cooperation of the S&D Group in the European Parliament. It will bring together progressive local and regional politicians (including members of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions), national and European political leaders and experts working on the green transition, as well as representatives of relevant European associations and organisations, activists from progressive parties and citizens to exchange best practices and find progressive solutions to build a sustainable future for all.
Among the participants, the PES Group is delighted to have on board a delegation of young progressive local and regional politicians. If you are a young local politician and you would like to participate in this event, please apply via this link.
Juan Espadas Cejas has been the Mayor of Seville since June 2015 where he started off as a councillor in 2011. He has been a member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions since 2016 and currently holds the chairmanship of the Commission for the Environment, Climate change and Energy (ENVE). Espadas Cejas has a Degree in Law from the University of Seville and a Degree in Environmental Policy and Management from the Carlos III University in Madrid. He also graduated in Senior Business Management from the Instituto San Telmo. Before starting his political career at local level, Juan Espadas Cejas worked for the Andalusian Ministry of Environment for 14 years and was Minister of Housing and Spatial Planning in the Government of Andalusia from 2008-2010 where he continued to focus on sustainability. Since 2002, he has been a member of the Spanish National Climate Council and a coordinator for the Monitoring Committee of the Andalusian Strategy on Climate Change. He acts today as a rapporteur for the opinion on “The renewal of the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities” in the European Committee of the Regions, which is set to be adopted in October 2020.
Christophe Rouillon is the Mayor of Coulaines, the Second Vice-President of the Le Mans Métropole (responsible for budget and European funds), the Vice-President of the Association of French Mayors (responsible for Europe) and, since October 2019, the President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions. Member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2005, he was the Group's First Vice-President from 2017 to 2019. Rouillon studied Public Law and Political Science at the Universities of Sorbonne and Paris 2-Assas and holds a Degree in Public Law from the University of Maine Le Mans. He also completed the Aspen programme for young politicians and postgraduate studies in European studies at the National School of Administration. In 2001, at the age of 34, he was elected Mayor of Coulaines, and was reconfirmed in this position in the 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2014 local elections. As member of the European Committee of the Regions, Christophe Rouillon has been rapporteur on several key dossiers, including “Reconnecting Europe with its citizens: more and better communication at local level”, “Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union” and “Towards a more efficient and democratic decision making in EU tax policy”. He is currently the rapporteur on the “Recovery and resilience facility”.
Iratxe García Pérez has been the President of the European Parliament’s S&D Group since June 2019 and is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). This is already her third mandate as a Member of the European Parliament. From 2009-2014, she worked in the Regional Development (REGI) and in the Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) committees, being the FEMM committee’s actual chair from 2014-2017. She also served as a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). Before her career in Brussels, she was a Member of the Spanish Parliament from 2000-2004, a local councillor in Laguna de Duero and a member of the Vallodid Provincial Council. García Pérez obtained a “diplomature” in Social Work from the University of Valladolid in 1995.
Jytte Guteland has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2014, serving within the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). She is the European Parliament's rapporteur on the “Climate Law”. She was also one of the main negotiators for the revision of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). Guteland was a member of the national executive board of the Social Democratic Youth League from 2005 to 2007, before becoming its chairperson in 2007. She also worked as a political advisor for the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education as well as a project manager for the Swedish think tank Global Challenge.
Pedro Marques has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2019 where he works within the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and the Committee on Regional Development (REGI). Previously, he was the Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, responsible for the structural and cohesion funds, under Prime Minister António Costa from 2015-2019 and the Secretary of State for Social Security from 2005-2011. Marques also gained local experience as a member of the Montijo City Council where he was responsible for health, social and economic development, housing, youth and planning from 2002-2005.
Fernando Medina has been the Mayor of Lisbon since 2015 and the President of the Lisboa Metropolitan Area (AML - Área Metropolitana de Lisboa in Portuguese) since 2017. Under his mayorship, Lisbon has won the European Green Capital Award for 2020. Fernando Medina has a Degree in Economics from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Porto and a Master Degree in Economic Sociology from the School of Economics and Management of the University of Lisbon. He was Secretary of State for Industry and Development from 2009 to 2011, and Secretary of State for Employment and Vocational Training from 2005 to 2009. He was also a member of the Portuguese Parliament from 2011 to 2013. Fernando Medina has been Adviser to the Chairman of the Portuguese Investment Agency and to the Prime Minister on educational, scientific, and technological issues. He was also a member of the Working Group of the Ministry for Education for the Portuguese Presidency of the EU. Fernando Medina has been a member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2015.
Birgit Honé has been the Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development of the German Federal State of Lower Saxony since 2017. She has also been a member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2013. From 2013-2017, she was the Secretary of State responsible for Europe and International Cooperation as well as for Regional State Development and EU Funding of Lower Saxony. In 2004, she started working within the Lower Saxony State Audit Office as a member of the Senate and became responsible for issues in relation to the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution until 2010. From 2011 to 2013, she was responsible for issues in relation to the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Honé is the European Committee of the Regions’ rapporteur for the opinion on a “Roadmap on Clean Hydrogen – the contribution of local and regional authorities to a climate neutral Europe”, adopted in July 2020.
Photo credits: MB Niedersachsen
Elena Piastra has been Mayor of Settimo Torinese since June 2019 – an election in which she won against the League candidate with 66% of the votes against 34% in the second round. From 2014-2019, she was a deputy mayor () and, from 2011 to 2014, a local councillor responsible for budget, culture, innovation, youth policies, education and integration of refugees. First female mayor of her city, Elena Piastra was initially a school teacher. As highlighted in her programme, her first priority is to build a sustainable city. She says that her city’s greatest strength is that its population is young and can therefore adapt to change more easily.
Pedro Sánchez has been the Prime Minister of Spain since June 2018. His first political mandate was at local level as a city councillor in Madrid in 2004. He later was elected to the Spanish Parliament in 2009, becoming Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Party PSOE in 2014. Sánchez holds a Ph.D. in Business and Economics.
Teresa Ribera Rodríguez has been Spain’s Minister for the Ecological Transition since June 2018. In January 2020, her portfolio was extended to include Demographic Challenge as well as the fourth vice-presidency in the second cabinet of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Ribera Rodríguez previously served as the General Director of the Office of Climate Change from 2004 to 2008 and as the Secretary of State for Climate Change from 2008 to 2011. Furthermore, she is a member of the Global Climate Change Advisory Council of the World Economic Forum and of the “Momentum for Change” initiative of the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change, amongst others. Ribera Rodríguez has a Degree in Law from the Complutense University of Madrid as well as in Constitutional Law and in Political Science from the Center of Constitutional Studies.
Juan Espadas, Mayor of Seville (Spain) and member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions
Christophe Rouillon, Mayor of Coulaines (France) and President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions
Iratxe García Pérez, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, MEP (Spain)
Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Vice-president of the Spanish Government in charge of the ecologic transition (tbc)
Moderator of the session: TBC
Laurent Berger, General Secretary of the French Democratic Confederation for Work (France) (tbc)
Jytte Guteland, Member of the European Parliament (S&D/Sweden) and Rapporteur on the Climate Law (tbc)
Pedro Marques, Member of the European Parliament (S&D/Portugal) and Shadow Rapporteur on the Just Transition Fund (tbc)
Representative of a start-up working on sustainable development or academic
Young local politician
Followed by Q&A
Moderator of the session: TBC
The European Green Deal and Mobility: Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon (Portugal) and member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions (tbc)
The European Green Deal and Energy: Birgit Honé, Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development of Lower Saxony (Gemany) and member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions (tbc)
The Green New Deal and Housing: Cédric Van Styvendael, Mayor of Villeurbanne, (France) and President of Housing Europe (tbc)
The Green New Deal and Jobs: Elena Piastra, Mayor of Settimo Torinese (Italy)
Followed by Q&A
Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner in charge of Cohesion and Reforms (tbc)
Followed by Q&A
Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister (Spain) – (tbc)