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Local Alliance: City and regional networks urge EU to stay the course on Green Deal implementation

Date

15 Apr 2024

Sections

Climate & Environment

Eight leading networks of European cities and regions - ACR+, CEMR, Climate Alliance, Energy Cities,  Eurocities, FEDARENE, ICLEI Europe and POLIS - have come together to form the Local Alliance.  

In a joint letter, the Alliance calls on EU leaders to find new ways to effectively roll out the European  Green Deal at local level. The EU must “stay the course on the European Green Deal under this and the next mandate of the European Commission,” the networks have stated. 

Recent challenges, such as the passage of the Nature Restoration Law, which still languishes with the  European Council, or the last-minute setbacks suffered by the internal combustion engine phase out,  are undermining the Green’s Deal objectives. As the European elections approach, the EU must ensure  it remains a global beacon for climate leadership.  

Given the more complicated arena for climate legislation that lies ahead, local leaders are adamant  that the EU’s commitment to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 should remain a top priority, delivering a just transition that works for people and planet. 

Cities and regions are where at least 70% of the European Green Deal legislation must be implemented.  European local and regional governments have already embarked on the journey to climate neutrality  and started to transform European cities and regions, as well as ways of living, heating and cooling,  housing, mobility, producing and consuming for millions of citizens. Today, the EU’s subnational  governments mobilise around 58% of climate-significant public expenditures, surpassing their central  governments. 

“European cities and regions have embraced the EU Green Deal and engaged their local communities  in bringing about sustainable local change. We call on EU and national decision makers to take the next  step in providing clarity, financial support and meaningful cooperation mechanisms to help put policy  into practice. In this EU election year, it is more urgent than ever to bring on board local governments  as serious partners for shaping a sustainable, fair, democratic and just European future.” - Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director, ICLEI Europe. 

In the letter sent to EU leaders, the Local Alliance highlights that Europe’s pace of success to achieve  the Green Deal objectives will depend on the following help for cities and regions: 

More joined up support for investments from the EU, national and regional funds across different  funding programmes and actors, which are more responsive to locally developed integrated and 

holistic action and investment plans. This would also be a prerequisite for creating local jobs and  markets for the European green industry.  

Local leaders highlight that partnership between all levels of government is key as “Financing the local  transition to climate neutrality will require mobilising the EU and national budgets.” 

Cities and regions need adequate in-house skills and a workforce to successfully do their part of the  climate neutrality transition and by doing so, to create demand for European businesses and  industries. 

“These opportunities are the best way to create local investment potential for European industry, and  to share the transition benefits for all EU citizens,” say the Local Alliance leaders. 

Establishing structured dialogues with the local and regional level at the EU and national level will be  critical to achieving the necessary transformation and societal resilience at scale in Europe. 

It is only with cities, regional and local governments on board – the closest level of government to  people and the one responsible for implementing most of the European Green Deal legislation - that  we can fully meet the objective of a climate neutral Europe by 2050. 

The Local Alliance further repeats its commitment to work with national governments, the European  Council, Commission and Parliament to turn the European Green Deal into reality for every citizen  across Europe. 

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Media Contact: 

Valeria Eirin 

Senior Expert, Strategic Communications 

valeria.eirin@iclei.org 

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Notes to Editors: 

1. The members of the Local Alliance are:  

The Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management (ACR+) has been  advocating for decentralised authorities’ crucial role regarding material resources and circular  economy for 30 years already. The international network gathers local and regional authorities working  for waste-free circular systems in their territories and beyond, together with other stakeholders.  Through its various activities, ACR+ provides its members with concrete tools, technical data, and  innovative approaches to enact a just and sustainable transition. 

Bringing together the voices of one million local leaders, The Council of European Municipalities and  Regions (CEMR) has advocated for ensuring that decisions made at the European level are fair and  sustainable for local governments and their citizens since 1951. Mayors and local elected officials are  at the forefront of responding to global challenges such as climate change and migration, translating  policies into tangible actions on the ground. They are also responsible for implementing 70% of EU  legislation. That's why at CEMR, we advocate for ensuring their voices are heard at every stage of the decision-making process. 

For over 30 years, Climate Alliance member municipalities have been acting in partnership with  indigenous rainforest peoples for the benefit of the global climate. With nearly 2,000 members spread  across 25 European countries, Climate Alliance is one of the leading city networks dedicated to  comprehensive and equitable climate action. Recognising the impact our lifestyles can have on the  world's most vulnerable people and places, Climate Alliance pairs local action with global  responsibility. 

Energy Cities is the European network of local authorities in energy transition. Created in 1990 as a  non-profit organisation, Energy Cities now represents over 1,000 cities in 30 European countries.  Energy Cities empowers local communities to shape and transition to future proof cities, by showcasing  concrete alternatives deployed by cities, advocating to change political and economic governance at  all levels and fostering a wide cultural change. 

Eurocities wants to make cities places where everyone can enjoy a good quality of life, is able to move  around safely, access quality and inclusive public services and benefit from a healthy environment. We  do this by networking more than 200 larger European cities, which represent some 150 million people  across 38 countries, and by gathering evidence of how policy making impacts on people to inspire  other cities and EU decision makers.  

FEDARENE is a European network of regions and regional and local energy agencies which implement,  co-ordinate and facilitate energy and environment policies. More than 80 regional and local agencies,  regional governments and departments across over 50 different regions are part of the federation. 

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional  governments committed to sustainable urban development and is active in 125+ countries. ICLEI  Europe supports local governments in implementing the European Green Deal, the overarching EU  strategy for climate neutrality, to build more resilient and equitable communities. 

POLIS is a Brussels-based non-profit founded in 1998, uniting European cities and regions to promote  sustainable urban transport innovation. It facilitates knowledge sharing among members, fosters  dialogue with industry and research, and advocates for its members in shaping EU mobility policy. 

2. Quotes from all members can be found here: 

“To reach climate neutrality by 2050, we need to rethink how we use our resources to stay within the  planet boundaries. For that, we must give the right instruments and resources to the right actors. Fully  integrating cities and regions in the decision-making process is crucial since everything happens locally,  from where we grow our food or produce our goods to how we discard our waste. We must join forces  to give cities and regions enough support to drive their environmental policies towards sustainable  and sufficient consumption and production models." - Françoise Bonnet, Secretary General, ACR+. 

“Through this Local Alliance, we call on the EU institutions to listen to cities and regions that are already  localising the Green Deal objectives by implementing 70% of the EU legislation. Putting the experience  of local governments at the centre means prioritizing effective transition policies that will ensure  fairness and acceptance of the Green Deal for all European citizens” - Fabrizio Rossi, Secretary  General, CEMR. 

"Europe’s cities and regions are where the pace of the climate and energy transition will be decided  across all economic sectors. Achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal thus demands a concerted and collaborative effort from both national governments and the European Commission, as  well as local businesses and civil society. This collaborative ethos is essential to empower all  stakeholders in addressing the multifaceted challenges of reducing our emissions, preventing  biodiversity loss, addressing societal challenges, and securing the financing to do so." - Thomas Brose,  Executive Director of Climate Alliance. 

“The European economy, whether we speak about industrial champions or local businesses, is always  grounded somewhere: businesses need access to public services for their workers, they need  functioning supply chains, resource material, energy... All of which is delivered locally. Europe will only  be stronger if every community is. And to strengthen them, it’s time we move from regulation to  implementation, from sectorial projects to long-term placed-based planning.” - Claire Roumet,  Executive Director of Energy Cities. 

“Cities and regions have proven their commitment to work with decision makers at EU and national  level to ensure a climate neutral future for Europe. However, if the European Green Deal is truly to  become a reality, the EU must empower local and regional governments with the funding, policies and  cooperation mechanisms they need to ensure a just, resilient future for everyone. To make sure our  voice is heard by the EU institutions, we have created the Local Alliance with other organisations that  share our values. The EU must listen to our call for a strategic alliance to deliver a sustainable future.”  - André Sobzcak, Secretary General of Eurocities. 

"The Green Deal in Europe means a modern infrastructure, new and better jobs, competitive  companies, healthy cities and homes. From a small town to a capital city, from a tiny bakery to a large  industry, from a single citizen to a community movement, climate neutrality is an opportunity. EU’s  municipalities, regions, and their energy agencies are joining forces in support of the European  Commission’s goal to implement the Green Deal. With the right support, as detailed in this joint letter,  subnational governments, and their energy agencies can help the EU in overcoming the current global  challenges and ensure a sustainable future for all European citizens." - Filip Dumitriu, Executive  Director of FEDARENE. 

“European cities and regions have embraced the EU Green Deal and engaged their local communities  in bringing about sustainable local change. We call on EU and national decision makers to take the next  step in providing clarity, financial support and meaningful cooperation mechanisms to help put policy  into practice. In this EU election year, it is more urgent than ever to bring on board local governments  as serious partners for shaping a sustainable, fair, democratic and just European future.” - Wolfgang  Teubner, Regional Director, ICLEI Europe. 

“Our member cities and regions are working hard to accelerate the shift to sustainable mobility. It is  not an easy task, neither technically nor politically. But a growing number of local political and  professional leaders are stepping forward in the right direction, they’re making things happen. They  must be supported.” - Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General at POLIS.

 

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