Mayors of 16 major EU cities ask for funds to fight climate change
Major European cities are asking the European Union for direct access to funds in the bloc's next long-term budget to help the EU reach its goal of becoming neutral in terms of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, a letter showed on Wednesday.
Mayors of 16 large European cities told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that they could act faster than national governments and were less constrained by pressures from the fossil fuel industry.
"The fight against climate change will be won or lost in cities," said the mayors of Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Vienna, The Hague, Athens, Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Frankfurt, Kosice, Milan and Strasbourg.
According to the Gdansk city hall, mayor Aleksandra Dulkiewicz has also joined the signatories of the letter. Authorities of other EU cities are said to be interested in joining the 16.
"Pivotal role" of the cities
Almost three quarters of Europeans live in urban areas, which now receive EU money with national governments acting as intermediaries, mostly from the so-called cohesion funds meant to equalise living conditions across the 27-nation bloc.
"We urge European institutions to recognize cities' and urban areas' pivotal role in implementing strategic green policy objectives and to allocate directly accessible, city-tailored EU funds to secure those outcomes," the letter said.
Mayors of Warsaw and Budapest Rafał Trzaskowski and Gergely Karascony on Thursday in Brussels spoke with EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira about the prospect of bypassing central governments in granting funds for European cities.
Trzaskowski wrote on Twitter after the meeting that together with Ferreira they discussed details of the said idea, taking into consideration the main goal of the cohesion policy - sustainable development of all regions.
Ferreira called the meeting with Trzaskowski and Karacsony "very constructive". "Good convergence of views on the role of cities in delivering the European #GreenDeal and on sustainable development of cities #NoRegionBehind" - she wrote on Twitter.
Pressure from miners and the coal-fuelled energy sector is strong in central European countries like Poland and Germany.
But some mayors, who come from parties in opposition to their central governments in capitals such as Warsaw, Budapest or Prague, also face political problems of cooperation with their national authorities.
Ahead of EU budget summit
By 2050, the EU aims not to be emitting any more carbon dioxide than it absorbs, making it "neutral" from the point of view of climate change and helping curb global warming.
EU leaders are to discuss the size of the 2021-2027 budget at a special summit on February 20, although negotiations on its myriad details are likely to last until later in the year.
Under the current plan, the EU wants to earmark around 250 billion euros ($272.55 billion) to fighting climate change, mainly through reducing CO2 emissions in industry, agriculture, energy and transport.
"Our efforts can only succeed if the EU puts regulatory and financial mechanisms in place that provide the necessary means for local authorities to act," the mayors' letter said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24