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News in brief
Conditionality of funds - 13.11.2020
EU agrees compromise on cutting funding to governments violating European valuesThe European Parliament and the German Presidency of the EU Council have agreed a compromise on the conditionality of EU funds. In short, the European Union will be able to cut funding to any government – local, regional or national – found to be violating European values, such as respect for the rule of law and minority rights.
Significantly, the cuts will not affect final beneficiaries, but only the government concerned. If the EU blocks funding to a national government for example, the country's students, farmers, municipalities and regions would still be able to benefit from funds. Local and regional governments have long advocated for such a measure.
Under the new procedure, the funds will be cut on a proposal of the European Commission approved by a qualified majority of national governments in the Council. In the past, a single national government could veto such measures. The compromise must now be adopted formally by the Parliament and national ministers in Council.
RRF - 10.11.2020
EU Parliament green-lights Europe’s recovery planOn 9 of November the European Parliament’s Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees both adopted the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the core of the European Union’s plan to tackle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliament voted for €672.5 billion in grants and loans to support EU countries for four years, which would only be available to governments respecting the rule of law and European values.
To take advantage of the funds, national governments must draft recovery and resilience plans consistent with a number of EU priorities, including green transition, digital transformation and territorial cohesion. Member States are invited to describe the role of their regional and local governments in developing the plans, but how deeply involved they will be remains to be seen. Parliament and national governments in Council must now negotiate an agreement on the scheme, even as Member States are bitterly divided over the rule of law provisions.
NALAS - 09.11.2020
The state of local finances in southeast EuropeThe Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS) has just published “Local Government Finance Indicators in South East Europe”. The second edition provides a wealth of statistical data on the following topics:
- The size and structure of local governments in southeast Europe
- Regional comparisons on the status and development of national and local government finance in 2019
- Patterns and trends of national and local government revenues and expenditures for the period 2006-2019 in each economy
TWINT 2020 - 05.11.2020
Take part in the Online Town Twinning Summit!The International Online Town Twinning Summit (TWINT) is taking place on 12 and 13 November. This great event will bring together local authorities, policymakers, international networks, European associations of local authorities, and many more players to look for new ways to create sustainable cities.
You can find the agenda and more information on the event website and register with this online form.
Coming up... - 04.11.2020
CEMR and Committee of the Regions join forces for a local recoveryThe European Union has agreed to raise an unprecedented €750 billion to finance the economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. National governments will each submit Recovery and Resilience Plans detailing how they want to spend these EU funds, but questions remain: Will towns and regions be involved in preparing these plans? Will local needs be overlooked?
That’s why CEMR and the Committee of the Regions are joining forces to ensure that municipalities, regions and their associations can make their voice heard in the drafting of the national plans using the EU recovery funds. Several actions are being planned including a survey of local governments and their associations on their involvement in national recovery plans, a detailed study and several events. These feed into both national and European advocacy efforts. Stay tuned!
Fit for the Future - 04.11.2020
CEMR expert appointed to top advisory group on improving EU legislationCEMR’s Angela Poth-Mögele has been appointed to represent local governments on the European Commission’s Fit for the Future Platform (F4F). The Platform is a group of high-level experts that will help the Commission simplify EU laws and reduce related unnecessary costs. F4F will examine whether existing laws can achieve their objectives efficiently as Europe tackles new challenges such as digitalisation.
CEMR will participate in the Platform’s Stakeholder Group, which represents civil society. This will also be an opportunity for CEMR to be informed about and influence lawmaking at a very early stage. F4F’s first meeting is expected to take place in mid-November and will be chaired by EU Commission Vice-President for Inter-Institutional Relations Maroš Šefčovič.
Green finance - 29.10.2020
A global guide to climate financeClimate Chance, an association promoting the role of local government and civil society in fighting climate change, has just published the third edition of its Global Synthesis Report on Climate Finance. The report analyses recent trends on climate finance with numerous charts and figures, including the expansion of green bonds and Europe’s leading position.
Discover the full report and the four-page summary for decisionmakers.
Green Leaf and Green Capital - 09.10.2020
Grenoble, Lappeenranta and Gabrovo win European green city awardsThe beautiful city of Grenoble will be Europe’s Green Capital for 2022. The French Alpine city won the award thanks to its ambitious climate and energy policies: carbon emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2030 and 100% of households’ energy needs will be provided by renewables by 2022.
The cities of Lappeenranta (Finland) and Gabrovo (Bulgaria) won the 2021 European Green Leaf Award for 2021, which is given to cities with less than 100,000 inhabitants. Lappeenranta aims to become climate-neutral by 2030, while Gabrovo has made great gains increasing energy efficiency and use of clean technologies. By recognising cities’ environmental efforts, the awards give them visibility and a boost to their territorial attractiveness.
Just Transition Fund - 17.09.2020
EU Parliament votes €25 billion to green local economiesThe European Parliament has voted to dedicate €25 billion for the Just Transition Fund (JTF). This new EU financial instrument will invest in regions to help them decarbonise their economies. A range of projects would be eligible for funding and the EU would co-finance up to 85% of the cost.
By contrast, the European Commission had proposed €11 billion and national governments in the Council a mere €7.5 billion. The Parliament and Council must now come to a compromise for the Fund to be created.
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