CoR and German environment minister discuss how to achieve a green, resilient and just recovery

Local leaders: EU Member States must raise climate
ambitions and agree at least 55% carbon emissions
reduction target for 2030

Local and regional leaders stressed today that
Europe must draw the right lessons from the
COVID-19 crisis and pave the way for a green
recovery by empowering its cities and regions to
lead the fight against climate change. This message
emerged from the debate of the Members of the
European Committee of the Regions with Svenja
Schulze, German Federal Minister for the
Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear
Safety. The European Committee of the Regions also
called on all the EU27 Heads of State and
Government to raise their ambition and agree this
week on at least a 55% emissions reducing target
for 2030.

At this week’s European Council meeting, leaders of the
27 EU Member States will seek agree on a new EU
emissions reduction target for 2030. The European
Commission’s proposes to cut greenhouse gas emissions
by at least 55% by 2030 in relation to 1990 levels, a
position supported by the European Committee of the
Regions. During the Committee’s virtual plenary debate,
leaders of EU regions, cities and villages highlighted
that the COVID crisis should not hinder the EU’s
commitment to tackling the climate and biodiversity
crises by setting a new more ambitious 2030 target. The
successful implementation of the European Green Deal –
the EU’s new growth strategy – must be turned into

concrete projects locally

and be based on a decentralised approach.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas
, President of the European Committee of the Regions,
and Governor of Central Macedonia in Greece,


: “Our economy and our climate are at breaking point:
we need a balanced, just and green European recovery
for every region, city and village. EU member states
must agree to cutting carbon emissions by at least 55%
by 2030 and approve the EU’s long-term budget and
recovery plans without delay. This is crucial to pave
the way to a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050 and to
guarantee a rapid transition to more sustainable
economies, protecting jobs and creating new

Speaking at the CoR plenary session on 8 December, Federal Minister Svenja Schulze said:
“Just as in the fight against COVID-19, we know a key
success factor in environmental and climate policy:
good cooperation between all political levels -
European, national, regional and local. The Green Deal
is the strategy for the economic relaunch of Europe,
making it more resilient, competitive and liveable. It
is essential that the Member States reach an agreement
soon on the Multiannual Financial Framework and the
Recovery and Resilience Facility, which includes huge
expenditure on climate protection and biodiversity.”

Mayor of Seville Juan Espadas (ES/PES)
, chair of the CoR’s

ENVE Commission

and the

Green Deal Going Local working group

, said: “The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is an
opportunity to rebuild Europe in a sustainable way and
to accelerate the much needed ecological transition. We
have no time to waste, whether it be to save our
economies with a strong European budget or to implement
bold climate actions. The 2030 Climate Target Plan can
become one of the major achievements of this Presidency
this week. Cities and regions are ready to act.”

Showing the German government’s commitment to a strong
local and regional involvement in climate policy, the
current Council Presidency – which will end its 6-month
term on 31 December – requested two opinions from the
CoR. The

first of them

assesses the opportunities of precautionary adaptation
to climate change and urges the European Commission to
develop a new EU Adaptation Strategy with clear goals
and indicators in line with the principles of active
subsidiarity and proportionality.

Rapporteur Markku Markkula (FI/EPP),
Chair of Espoo City Board and former CoR President
(2015-2017), said: “Political leadership should treat
climate change as an emergency that needs to be tackled
collectively with innovative measures breaking down
silos and barriers and integrating mitigation and
adaptation policies. This means raising the climate
ambition bar much higher than the EU is discussing
today and providing cities and regions with the tools
necessary to develop territory-based solutions. No
adaptation policy will work unless it takes into
account the needs, views and expertise of regions and


second opinion

, which focuses on the impact of climate change in
regions and provides a first assessment of the Green
Deal, will be presented on Wednesday by rapporteur Andries Gryffroy (BE/EA). The member
of the Flemish parliament said: “The Green Deal will be
successful only if it regions and cities are at its
core. Although several regions and cities have adopted
energy transition plans or Local Green Deals, these are
rarely reflected in national plans and strategies. We
stand ready to work with the Commission and its Joint
Research Centre to set up a Regional European
Scoreboard to monitor and track progress in the
implementation of climate and Green Deal related
legislation, policies and financing at regional level.”

Background information

At the European Council meeting this week (10-11
December), the leaders of the 27 EU Member States will
seek agree on a new EU emissions reduction target for
2030. This would allow the EU to submit its updated
nationally determined contribution to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change before
the end of 2020. The European Commission’s Climate
Target Plan for 2030 proposes to cut greenhouse gas
emissions by at least 55% in relation to 1990 levels, a
position supported by the European Committee of the


Lauri Ouvinen

Tel. +32 473536887

David Crous

Tel. +32 470 881 037


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