The EU's local and regional authorities have been at the forefront of supporting people hit by the energy crisis and for implementing measures to ensure energy savings and energy business continuity. They want to be further involved in ongoing energy reforms to secure strategic investments to accelerate the clean energy transition. In an urgent resolution, the European Committee of the Regions calls on the EU to build a real Energy Union and forge synergies between EU funding instruments to accelerate sustainable energy projects locally along with capacity building and upskilling programmes to deliver on the European Year of Skills 2023.
On 9 February, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) adopted an
urgent resolution on the energy crisis. It includes a set of proposals to accelerate the EU's clean energy transition, both in production and consumption, as well as in buildings and transport – requesting a robust social package and fair redistribution measures to palliate the social impact of the energy crisis, in particular for the most vulnerable. Current initiatives are not providing Local and Regional Authorities (LRAs) with the immediate support needed, stresses the adopted resolution.
Vasco Alves Cordeiro, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: "Local and regional authorities have been at the forefront in supporting households, particularly the most fragile, and pushing their energy savings efforts. The response to the energy crisis can only be successful if it at the same time European and anchored in our regions and cities, as they are responsible for many issues, like mobility, housing and access to public services. The situation we live today is part of a larger transformation that our societies need to undertake to halt the climate emergency and build a more sustainable future. Cities and regions must be part of the equation to make it work."
Rafał Kazimierz Trzaskowski (PL/EPP), Mayor of Warsaw and Chair of the
ENVE commission and of the
Green Deal Going Local working group, said: "The energy crisis must not lower our climate ambition. The devastating impact of global warming will not stop overnight. In many Member States, cities and regions have set up more ambitious targets than their national governments. Despite the energy crisis, local and regional authorities have continued to provide essential public services for every citizen. However, we need more financial means to support the growing number of European citizens that suffer from energy poverty and to retrofit our buildings in order to boost energy efficiency and savings. We call on the European Commission to provide direct funds for LRAs to accelerate the sustainable energy transition in our communities, in our cities, in our regions. It is in this context, that we have proposed to launch an EU joint public procurement pilot project to provide cities across Europe with hydrogen buses."
Cities and regions demand more ambitious proposals to make clean energy solutions the easiest and cheapest options in the market. Energy communities and local authorities should have full rights to access grids, without enduring the same regulation than retail suppliers.
The Committee calls for the establishment of a real Energy Union with a fully integrated and well interconnected market across the EU and requests to the Swedish presidency to accelerate the adoption of the remaining
'Fit for 55' –legislative proposals.
The CoR supports strengthening the
EU Energy Platform due to its positive impact on energy prices. Concerning ongoing reforms in the electricity market, the CoR expects gas prices to be decoupled from electricity ones.
EU cities and regions ask Member States to involve them in the revision of National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs), due in 2023 and call for direct involvement in the drafting of the new
REPowerEU chapters of the
Recovery and Resilience Facility plans as to ensure financing for specific strategic and cross-border infrastructure projects. REPowerEU chapters in member states' recovery and resilience plans (RRPs) are to outline new reforms and investments to enhance resilience, security and the sustainability of the Union's energy system – including energy efficiency and the deployment of renewable energy.
On finance, EU cities and regions urge for the exemption of targeted energy investments from the calculation of the deficit within the fiscal rules. The EU's assembly of cities and regions is also requesting a one-stop-shop funding portal to implement the Renovation Wave and calls on Member States to use REPowerEU funds to accelerate the investments in energy efficiency and buildings retrofitting.
On transport, the European Committee of the regions calls for a pan-European public procurement project to deploy hydrogen buses in the EU and stresses the
Automotive Regions Alliance' objective to contribute to a just transition in energy intense regions with a strong automotive and suppliers' industry.
EU Energy Platform was established on 7 April 2022, at a first meeting with EU countries, to secure the EU's energy supply at affordable prices in the current geopolitical context and to phase out dependency on Russian gas.
Green Deal Going Local web portal.
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