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The European Green Deal is the roadmap to our economic and social recovery  

 

Ensuring that the Green Deal is at the core of the COVID-19 recovery strategy is a top priority for the Commission for the Environment, Climate change and Energy (ENVE) of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). In today's videoconference meeting, Commissioner Sinkevičius took part in a debate with ENVE members on the need to have a green recovery. The debate was conducted by the ENVE Chair and Mayor of Seville Juan Espadas. Next 15 June, the CoR is launching the Green Deal Working Group as to guarantee that the EU's recovery goes local and is tailored fit to every territory.

Opening the debate, the Chair of the ENVE Commission and Mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas (ES/PES), said: "The European Green Deal is our roadmap for the economic and social recovery that has to be also a green recovery. The European Union institutions can count on regions and cities to play an active role, as we can suggest strategies to better support societies and those most affected. To leave this crisis behind, we need to focus our efforts on building the world of tomorrow together at all levels, and I thank in particular Commissioner Sinkevičius for his dialogue with us today and his openness to intensify our cooperation."​

Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said: "The way we design our recovery today will define our future for many decades. We should not allow today's crisis to compromise our green transition. The Green Deal is central to achieving the wider objectives of an EU recovery plan. The European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Mechanism should be the building blocks of a 'Green Marshall Plan'. Circular economy, zero pollution, biodiversity and sustainable food are all areas particularly relevant to a green recovery. The European Committee of the Regions has always been an important partner and the reference point between the EU and its local and regional governments. Only by cooperating with regional and local authorities will we make this transition a successful one." 

Members debated over the following draft opinions: 

  • Climate Law: The president of Andalusia Juanma Moreno is the rapporteur of the CoR opinion on the 'European Climate Law: enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality objective'. "The COVID-19 recovery plan is an opportunity to carry out a truly green revolution, adopting new sustainable models of life style, consumption, and production", said president Moreno in a recent interview on the legally binding proposal to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Final adoption is scheduled during the 1-2 July plenary session. 
  • Climate Pact: The draft opinion on 'The European Climate Pact' by the Mayor of Warsaw is ready for adoption and will be voted at the plenary session of 13-14 October 2020. "We are committed to support a green recovery but cities and regions need appropriate and direct EU funds to speed up the process", says Rafał Trzaskowski (PL/EPP). Find out more in this interview. A questionnaire for local and regional administrations and other stakeholders is currently open online.
  • Hydrogen: "Clean hydrogen is central to achieve climate neutrality. We need an EU strategy with an appropriate EU legal framework and market support to build a clean hydrogen economy bottom up"said Birgit Honé (DE/PES), Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development (Lower Saxony) and rapporteur of the opinion 'Towards a Roadmap for Clean Hydrogen the contribution of local and regional authorities to a climate-neutral Europe'. Adoption is scheduled at the plenary session 1-2 July 2020
  • Water: Members discussed the draft opinion 'The Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive' by rapporteur Piotr Całbecki (PL/EPP). In a recent interview, the President of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region called for a "paradigm shift to place circularity, nature-based solutions and sustainability at the center of water management and called for the update of the Directive to reflect the Paris Agreement and the SDGs". The opinion is to be adopted at the next plenary session of 1-2 July 2020.
  • Clean Air:  "The difficult recovery ahead of us cannot undermine the EU's zero pollution ambition. Clean air and the overall zero-pollution action plan must be an integral part of the COVID-19 economic recovery addressing air pollution at the source and involving the citizens in the process", said János Karácsony (HU/EPP), member of the Tahitótfalu Local Government after the debate on his draft opinion on 'The Future of EU Clean Air policy in the framework of the zero-pollution ambition'. Final vote is scheduled at the plenary session 1-2 July 2020.

​Members had an exchange of views on the 'new Circular Economy Action Plan', the CoR's draft opinion by rapporteur Tjisee Stelpstra (NL/ECR), regional minister of the Province of Drenthe. You can explore the rapporteurs' views on this key Green Deal file in this article.

ENVE members appointed the President of the Tuscany Region Enrico Rossi (IT/PES) as rapporteur of an upcoming opinion on the 'Renovation Wave', the EU's initiative to upgrade the energy performance of Europe's building stock.

Next Monday 15 June, the 'Green Deal Working Group' of the European Committee of the Regions will hold its first meeting. Its raison d'être and ultimate goal is to guarantee that the EU's framework policy to achieve climate-neutrality is executed in close partnership with EU cities and regions, ensuring that the 'Green Deal Goes Local' and is tailored fit to every territory.

Background.

Please click here to access the documents of the ENVE commission meeting of 8 June 2020.

Read here the latest edition of ENVOY, the bulletin of the ENVE commission.  

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