Last Friday, less than a week before the release of the state of the Energy Union report, Energy Cities teamed up with the key four other European networks for sustainable cities to raise concerns over the governance of energy and climate policies.
Our President and Mayor of Heidelberg Eckart Würzner addressed a joint letter to European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, co-signed by local elected leaders representing CEMR, Climate Alliance, Energy Cities, FEDARENE and ICLEI.
“ As the energy landscape is undergoing dramatic change, from a once hierarchical and monopolistic system to a more distributed and decentralised one, so should the decision making architecture. Local and regional governments, as the most legitimate ambassadors and facilitators of this new reality, ought to be represented on an equal footing, alongside Member States, in the governance of the EU Energy Union ,” says the letter.
So far, the aim of this endeavour is mainly to raise EU attention on the fact that new realities on the ground ought to be better reflected higher up in the design of regulatory and financing priorities. Indeed at the moment, the attention remains focused on the funding and support of mega infrastructure investments, with comparatively little support for small-scale community energy projects more likely to benefit from social acceptance.
“ Such bottom-up initiatives with local payback and engagement hold the promise of rebuilding faith into the European project ,” added the signatories of the letter, reminding the key role played by local authorities in facilitating this dynamic.
With the upcoming Netherlands Presidency set to put the focus on the adoption of an Urban Agenda, to better integrate cities within the EU policy-making process, the next steps for the five EU networks will be to outline more in details how local priorities for sustainable development could be better reflected at the early stages of the policy process.
To be continued…
In March, Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič has held an exchange of views with Energy Cities Board of Directors