Cities meet European decision makers to discuss EU’s future budget and energy policy

On the occasion of the EU Covenant of Mayors Ceremony held on Thursday 22nd of February in Brussels, European mayors and elected representatives from Energy Cities’ Board of Directors met with decision makers in charge of key policy developments.

Next EU Budget: 30% of structural and cohesion funds to be allocated to climate measures

First, there was this good news: The European Parliament’s budget committee had just voted for 30% of the EU structural and cohesion funds to be allocated exclusively to low carbon measures. Energy Cities’ President and Mayor of Heidelberg Eckart Würzner gladly welcomed this move in a first exchange with Isabelle Thomas, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) leading the budget negotiations. .“Another crucial thing that we need is supporting frameworks and structures that help us coherently articulate our energy and climate action”, added the Mayor. He stressed that the former Intelligent Energy Europe programme, that triggered the launch of hundreds of local energy agencies across Europe, had been an important stepping stone down that road.

Clean Energy Package: Getting building renovations right

Later in the day, Energy Cities’ Board held an exchange of views with Bendt Bendtsen, the MEP in charge of coordinating the Parliament’s position on the reviewed energy efficiency directive. Touching upon all 7 legislations under design or review as part of the Clean Energy Package, Bendtsen said they were all “gears that need to work together to jump start the Energy Union”. Energy efficiency is bound to provide a significant contribution, but he reminded that tough negotiations were ahead to agree on a common position with the EU Council (which supports a 27% target by 2030 while the European Parliament unanimously called for 35%). Bendtsen emphasised the next big challenge of the energy efficiency directive which is to encourage Member States to draft inclusive building renovation roadmaps in close cooperation with their local authorities.

Covenant of Mayors Ceremony: Cities need more than a talk show !

On the yearly ceremony organised in the European Parliament, Energy Cities’ Board of Directors regretted that despite some high level attendance from keynote speakers and policy makers, the Ceremony essentially remained a space for mayors “to talk to each other”. A real, permanent dialogue between the local and EU level is still missing.