Climate and EU budget: cities want results

10 December 2020

For the last meeting of the European Council in 2020, starting this Thursday, cities have formulated clear expectations on the outcomes regarding climate targets and the EU budget and recovery funds.

To combat climate change, city leaders call for a more ambitious target of the EU. “Europe must maintain its global leadership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% for 2030,” says Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence and president of Eurocities. The network calls for a binding target of at least 60% reduction by 2030 on European level and at least 55% at member state level. Direct collaboration with and support for leading cities should be strengthened, as a new position paper of Eurocities demands. The heads of states are discussing climate targets this afternoon.

Update: Thursday evening, the Council reached an agreement on the budget.

Cities also want an agreement on the EU budget-and-recovery package which has been blocked by the governments of Poland and Hungary due to their opposition to a planned rule of law mechanism for EU funds. “This is the time for solidarity, not for vetoes”, Nardella said and urged the Council to adopt the budget proposal so the resources can arrive quickly where they are needed most: in cities.

Mayors of Polish and Hungarian cities “condemn” the veto by their national governments, as they write in a letter to EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, signed by 249 mayors. Warsaw’s mayor Rafał Trzaskowski said both the Hungarian and Polish governments were behaving in “an irresponsible and unpredictable way”. The mayors propose a way to access the recovery fund, even if Poland and Hungary should be left out due to their blockade: the resources originally allocated for their countries should be used “to create a Recovery and Resilience Fund for Polish and Hungarian municipalities so that they can drive forward a sustainable and socially just economic recovery”, the mayors write in their letter.