“Green deal going local” announced its roadmap

Renovations, sustainable mobility, urban greening are some of the areas in which the Committee of the Regions’ (CoR) wants to work more closely with the European Commission.

The Green Deal Going Local working group debated the priorities for 2021 on 15 February and announced its roadmap, which will have to be approved at the next meeting in March.

In a draft obtained by EURACTIV, the working group plans to step up cooperation with various European Commission directorates-general (DGs) to support, in particular, the wave of renovations, the development of sustainable mobility, and the greening of cities.

“The Green Deal is a cross-cutting priority. Our aim is, therefore, to work on these issues together with most of the Commission’s DGs”, explained working group member and president of CoR’s Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and the EU Budget, Isabelle Boudineau.

CoR and the Green Deal Going Local working group aim to attune their strategic priorities to those of the Commission “in order to best reinforce the role of local and regional authorities within the Green Deal”, according to the draft of the Green Deal Roadmap.

Some of the main objectives of these synergies are to harmonise legislative work and mainstream climate objectives across Europe, to promote a “circular approach” to buildings’ renovation and a “just energy transition through a specific focus on energy poverty”, as well as the “development and relaunch of sustainable tourism”, according to the Roadmap draft.

As for urban greening, CoR would also like to see the link between the future Urban Agenda for the EU and the European Green Deal strengthened and ensure consistency in the cooperation with the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

The aim of the Roadmap is to “create a consistent and coherent framework for CoR work on the Green Deal.”

Ultimately, this work should make it possible to “feed into the COP26”, the United Nations climate conference to be held in Glasgow in November, Boudineau told EURACTIV.

Europe’s regions are changing. The population is getting older and cities are growing while rural regions are increasingly dying out, causing strains on urban infrastructure. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Composed of thirteen local and regional elected representatives from across the EU, the Green Deal Going Local working group aims to “ensure the direct involvement of EU cities and regions in the definition, implementation, and evaluation of the many initiatives carried out in the framework of the European Green Deal.”

At the fourth meeting of the working group on Monday, the chairman of the CoR’s environment Commission, Seville Mayor Juan Espadas stressed: “European Union will never achieve carbon neutrality unless its territories share the same ambitious objectives.”

Lawmakers in the European Parliament voted to pass the EU’s €672.5 recovery and resilience facility on 9 February, unlocking unprecedented funding aimed at helping Europe “build back better” after the COVID-19 crisis.

Rafał Trzaskowski, mayor of Warsaw told the meeting on Monday: “We must all join forces to achieve the Green Deal at the local level”.

Trzakowski is part of the so-called “pact of free cities” between the mayors of the Visegrad Four capitals (Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and Warsaw) initiated by mayor of Budapest Gergely Karácsony in opposition to their respective authoritarian governments.

“We are asking the European Commission to provide financial and non-financial support to local and regional leaders to make the Green Deal a reality on the ground and to promote the green transition’s social acceptance”, mayor Trzaskowski said.

The CoR working group further intends to support the “wave of renovation” announced last year by the Commission.

As pointed out by the CoR, in Europe, “75% of existing buildings do not have satisfactory energy performance”, and only 1% of those are currently being renovated each year.

Photo: Michael Cragg for Unsplash. Source: Euractiv