Taking meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change is the defining struggle of our time and a policy challenge of unprecedented scale for European and global policy-makers alike. At the same time, the broader socio-economic context of the climate crisis has changed dramatically in recent weeks. Today, in the spring of 2020, the world faces a deadly pandemic that could – and should - become a game-changer in the 21th century’s socio-economic development.
Cities and local governments can take the lead in climate action and realize ambitious action plans for a sustainable future. Cities are well equipped to enact policy change, are usually faster to act than their national governments, and less constrained by pressures from the fossil fuel industry. In the fight against COVID-19 too, cities are on the frontline. Their populations, their revenues, their local economies are severely impacted, and many of the negative outcomes are only yet to come.
This recognition leads us to raise the question, how the EU can back cities’ efforts in the most effective way? These are days of the intensive talks in and outside the Institutions of the next 7 years EU budget and the Commission’s Next Generation EU Recovery Plan published on the 27th of May, 2020. It is more timely than ever to exchange our views on possible strands of easily accessible EU financing for cities. The focus of the new EU budget and the Recovery Plan on local communities and regions is more than promising from our municipalities’ perspective. But to turn this heightened attention into genuine action and feasible financing schemes needs further work.
V4 capital cities are advocating a proposal to strengthen EU financing for cities in the next MFF, the Green Deal and the Recovery Plan. It is already backed by almost 20 European municipalities. How to move forward?
Opening (Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest), 10’
Welcome (Philippe Lamberts, co-chair, Greens/EFA group), 10’
Presentation of the Position Paper (Benedek Jávor, Head of Representation of Budapest in Brussels), 10’
Panel I.: EU funding for cities - Political roundtable
- Katalin Cseh (Vice-Chair, Renew Europe), 7’
- Monika Vana (Greens/EFA), 7’
- Istvan Ujhelyi (S&D, HU), 7'
Panel II.: Institutional perspectives
Keynote speech: Zdeněk Hřib, Mayor of Prague, 10’
- Normunds Popens, (Deputy Director-General, DG Regio), 7’
- Bernd Voss, (Co-Chair, The Greens Group; ENVE Commission, CoR;), 7’
- Anna Lisa Boni, (Secretary General, Eurocities Brussels Office, tbc), 7’
- Dr. Katharina Erdmenger, (Head of Unit, Home Affairs, Internal Security, Urban and Housing matters, Permanent Representation of Germany), 7’
Closing remarks (Eduard Donauer, Plenipotentiary for Strategic Planning, City of Bratislava)