On 29 May, the EU Covenant of Mayors Political board met in Brussels with European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič, and European Commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, reaffirming that this initiative stands as a unique political movement steered by mayors.
EUROCITIES was represented in this meeting by Filipe Araujo, Vice Mayor of Porto and Chair of EUROCITIES Environment Forum.
Vice-President Šefčovič and Commissioner Cañete’s took the opportunity to thank the mayors for their support notably in reaction to the open letter signed by 210 mayors and published on 7 May 2019, which urged international leaders to commit the European institutions to a long-term climate strategy with the objective of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. (please find the letter here).
During the discussion, mayors emphasized the youth mobilisation and the green-wave across several Members States in the EU elections, bringing climate change to the forefront of the political debate.
Regarding governance, the EU Covenant Board stressed the necessity to strengthen the cooperation between the EU institutions and city authorities. Cities, member states and European institutions need to work hand-in-hand and more support is needed at local level for the implementation of the energy transition, such as a Planet-future-fund or new funding instruments for building renovation. The Board had the opportunity to express the Covenant’s capacity to act as a tool for multi-level governance. Mayors also shared willingness to increase cooperation beyond EU borders, notably with southern countries.
Mayors and Commission also shared their common understanding of a social dimension of the transition in which the cities remain key partners. Vice-President Šefčovič and Commissioner Cañete stressed out that the climate and energy transition requires a transformation in sectors for which cities are directly concerned such as clean -air, mobilisation of citizens, renovation of buildings. Mayors also emphasised the need to support public transport in general and not only electric mobility.
A formal follow-up letter will be sent by the EU Covenant Board to convey those messages in a written form to the Vice-President and Commissioner.