Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič held an exchange of views with Energy Cities Board of Directors on 6 March 2015, one week after the official unveiling of the Energy Union project.
After hearing the success stories shared by the mayors and representatives of the cities of Delft, Vaxjo, Dijon, Heidelberg, Helsinki, Bornova, Riga and Bielsko Biala, Šefčovič enthusiastically reiterated the European Commission’s willingness to establish a closer cooperation with cities, as they are the “direct link to citizens”.
The best practices presented by Energy Cities’ Board members included fuel switching in district heating networks in Riga or Vaxjo, improved mobility services in Dijon, citizens engagement in Bornova or sustainable urban planning and energy efficiency in buildings. Energy Cities’ Board members also put forward their capacity to act and innovate for the energy transition, including through municipal energy companies or the development of local financing schemes for housing retrofitting.
In a context where the EU is intensifying efforts to improve energy security and cut energy bills, the city representatives reminded the Vice President of their key contribution to energy efficiency and decarbonisation goals. The discussion went on to tackle issues such as the need for knowledge sharing, for breaking silo mentalities or the necessary role of the EU in financially assisting the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
Immediately after the fruitful one hour exchange, Vice-President Šefčovič left for the Environment Council meeting. Later in the day, he sent a message on Twitter about his “excellent meeting with Energy Cities Mayors, key players on the local level for a successful Energy Union”.
© photo Energy Cities
March 9, 2015