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News in brief
Survey - 23.11.2020
How can we better involve local government in EU spending?Public money is always spent better when those who are affected have a say. That’s why many European investment funds must follow the Partnership Principle, according to which local government and regional governments should be involved in how EU money is spent in their territory. But how well are local players actually involved in practice?
To help answer this question, municipalities, regions and their associations are encouraged to share their views on this issue by responding to the Committee of the Regions’ survey on applying the Partnership Principle to EU funds for 2021-2027. The questionnaire should only take 10-15 minutes to complete and the survey will be open until 21 December 2020. In parallel, CEMR will be publishing its own analysis of the issue in the coming months, based on a survey of its national associations.
Consultation - 20.11.2020
How can Europe maximise energy efficiency by 2030?The European Union is preparing to reform its Energy Efficiency Directive, a major law stipulating how to reduce energy waste. The legislation has great implications for the construction and refurbishing of buildings, and public authorities’ responsibilities in this area. The reform aims to accelerate the achievement of the EU’s 2030 energy efficiency targets and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by that year.
With the launch of a public consultation on energy efficiency, the European Commission wants to hear the views of municipalities, regions and their associations on how to improve this legislation. The EU wants to hear about your experiences and proposals! So do not hesitate to get involved. The consultation’s online questionnaire will be available in all official EU languages. You have until 9 February 2021 to reply.
Survey - 17.11.2020
European cities’ outline their big plans for a carbon-free futureThe European Covenant of Mayors conducted a survey last summer collecting local and regional governments’ views and ideas for the future of the initiative. Now the results are public with 462 cities and regions in 23 countries responding. The message is clear: 91% of respondents are in favour of making climate neutrality a long-term target for the Covenant’s participants and majorities say targets on adaptation to climate change should be strengthened and made compulsory.
The survey also covers other issues such as cooperation between different levels of governance, the kinds of local climate actions taken by governments and the need for a socially just energy transition. The findings will feed into repositioning the Covenant in the new context marked by the COVID crisis and ways to support municipalities and regions to fully participate in the recovery.
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.
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