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News in brief
Recovery plan - 01.12.2020
Local governments must be involved in managing and recovering from the crisis“European recovery plan: we must have confidence in our territories!": this was the call of over 200 local and regional leaders and territorial representatives on the occasion of the 6th European University (26-27 November) of CEMR's French section (AFCCRE), under the theme "Europe facing the crisis: support territories!".
The list of participants included the mayors of Fontainebleau, Fréderic Valletoux, and Quimperlé, Michaël Quernez, MEP Anne Sander and CEMR secretary general, Frédéric Vallier. The assembled leaders called for a better coordination and clarity concerning the access to EU funds and the fight against exclusion and poverty, in view of the devastating impact of the crisis.
Nearly 58 billion euros - under cohesion policy and the recovery plan - are expected by French local governments to address the social crisis and revive the economy. This is why Philippe Laurent, the mayor of Sceaux and president of AFCCRE, called on the EU and national governments “to trust the territories and their elected representatives to make the crisis management and crisis management measures understandable and operational."
CoR-OECD survey - 30.11.2020
Local and regional perspectives on COVID: local finances, coordination and recoveryThe Committee of the Regions and OECD have joined forces to analyse of the impact of COVID-19 on local and regional governments. The two bodies received 300 responses from local and regional representatives in 24 EU countries, providing a unique territorial view on coordination against the pandemic, the state of local finances and prospects for recovery.
The study is a useful complement to CEMR’s own survey of national associations of local and regional governments on the question of local finances and COVID. Indeed, there are shared results: local finances are under extreme strain and there needs to be effective national support and coordination to overcome the crisis.
Emperor Maximilian Prize 2021 - 25.11.2020
Win €10,000 for your local project with European ambitionsDo you have a creative project in mind for your municipality or region? Do you live by the motto “act local, think European”? If so, you should compete for the Emperor Maximilian Prize, awarded by the City of Innsbruck and the State of Tyrol, rewarding excellent local or regional projects with a European dimension.
Individuals, private associations and public institutions are eligible for the €10,000-prize. Previous winners have included Swedish politician Anders Knape for his lifelong advocacy for local and regional government and the Tyrolean association “Rückenwind”, which enables underprivileged young people to go abroad for an international project.
For more information, please go on the Kaiser Maximilian Prize’s website. The public tender and prize information are available in multiple European languages.
Study - 24.11.2020
How cities and regions can lead the environmental and energy transitionsThe Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published an in-depth report looking at how local and regional governments can lead the way towards climate-neutral and low-waste economies by 2050.
Drawing on academic and policy expert discussions with the European Commission, the study shows what cities, regions and rural areas can do in a wide range of areas, including energy supply, conversion and use, the transformation of mobility systems and land use practices.
To find out more and read the report, please consult the OECD website.
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.
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