2019 EU elections – Our Manifesto

What Energy Cities demands of future EU leaders

How a shared energy transition can transform Europe’s energy landscape and tackle the root causes of strife in Europe today.

Why Now?

Europe is changing. Internal and external forces are shaping our society, economy and politics. A resurgent Russia practices PETRO DIPLOMACY to the East, populist cries ring out across Europe, tensions rise around migration, ECONOMIC INEQUALITY drives alienation, anger and disengagement, AIR POLLUTION compromises countless European lives all while catastrophic climate change stands on the horizon demanding the greatest coordinated mobilisation of resources in Europe’s history

Why Cities?

Cities are the heart of the energy transition. They are already driving societal change through decentralised, renewable power production and by reducing the energy needs of our society, but a genuine POWER SHIFT towards LOCAL COMMUNITIES is long overdue. It is they who will ultimately deliver a fossil fuel-free energy system, but they can only do so with a full alignment of all levels of political decisions (local, regional, national, international).

Why You?

We need a BOLD response from EU LEADERS to democratic and climate challenges. We need BRAVE EU LEADERS to lead with cities. We need YOU to challenge Brussels’ business as usual. Support a bottom-up energy system powered by citizens, engage with communities, match urban energy needs with rural renewable resources and build the sustainable infrastructure we need for a prosperous, sustainable Europe.

Why is this for your constituents?

92% of EU citizens see climate change as a serious problem and 74% see it as a “very serious” problem. The vast majority (79%) also agree that more public financial support should be given to the TRANSITION TO CLEAN ENERGIES, even if this means reducing fossil fuel subsidies. Local energy autonomy, developed with the LOCAL-RESOURCES-FIRST PRINCIPLE through urbanrural partnerships and energy communities is the best way to address your constituents most pressing concerns.

Why Us?

Energy Cities is your PARTNER to achieve this. In this manifesto, written on behalf of more than one thousand member cities across Europe, we’ve laid out a series of ‘quick wins’ needed to jumpstart a shared energy transition that will engage all citizens. We also have a number of transformative, longer-term initiatives which, if achieved, will cement a LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP, innovation and collaborative governance. The price of failure, on the other hand, will impoverish, endanger and betray generations to come.

Why else?

A shared energy transition allows communities to harvest resources in their own backyard which encourages local particDEMOCRACY, strengthens political accountability and reduces the leverage of foreign actors. It also has a powerful role in REDUCING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY, improving lives through better air and water quality, increasing energy resiliency, and solidifying inter-regional interdependency through regional energy networks – and that is just the beginning.

Quick wins

Time is short but the window for quick, decisive action is open. We must seize this moment.

1 – Direct the European Investment Bank, which has disbursed €12 billion in fossil fuel projects since 2013, to follow the energy subsidiarity principle (funding projects that harvest local savings and renewable resources in priority) and completely divest from fossil fuel projects.

2- Provide municipalities with legal support and advice to protect them against court cases seeking to rule out energy and climate plans that are in line with the Paris agreement

3- Include the Covenant of Mayors as a partner to Member States and EU institutions for designing energy policies from the bottom-up.

4- Increase the EU Transition Fund to enable a radical change in energy generation and environmental responsibility in all EU territories and finance the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAP) of cities (add a special budget line in all regional partnership agreements in order to finance SECAPs).

Legacy Building

The key to halting climate change is to build on a resilient economy , based on available resources.

1- Mainstream carbon budgeting principles across EU member states and lift barriers to public investments that increase local energy efficiency and independence.

2 – Develop a special joint programme between Common Agricultural policies and urban/regional development policies to have energy/food/transport production partnerships.

3- Transform the Covenant of Mayors’ initiative into a real transition lab and peer to peer learning hub (and transform each city’s Mission Innovation into a programme to support local climate efforts such as a Hackathon for Climate).

4- “Without transparency, no trust; without fairness, no mobilisation”: these principles should guide all EU policies to include all EU citizens in the transformation to come.