15 April 2024

Local Alliance urges EU to stay the course on EU Green Deal

ICLEI and seven other leading networks of European cities and regions - ACR+, CEMR, Climate Alliance, Energy Cities, Eurocities, FEDARENE, and POLIS - have come together to form the Local Alliance ahead of the EU elections. 

In a joint letter, the Alliance calls on EU leaders to find new ways to effectively roll out the European Green Deal at local level. The EU must “stay the course on the European Green Deal under this and the next mandate of the European Commission,” the networks have stated in the joint letter.

Recent challenges, such as the passage of the Nature Restoration Law, or the last-minute setbacks suffered by the internal combustion engine phase out, are undermining the Green’s Deal objectives and forshadow a more complicated arena for climate legislation in the coming years. As the European elections approach local leaders are adamant that the EU’s commitment to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 should remain a top priority, delivering a just transition that works for people and planet. 

European local and regional governments have already embarked on the journey to climate neutrality and started to transform European cities and regions, as well as ways of living, heating and cooling, housing, mobility, producing and consuming for millions of citizens. Today, the EU’s subnational governments mobilise around 58% of climate-significant public expenditures, surpassing their central governments. It is therefore only with cities, regional and local governments on board – the closest level of government to people and the level responsible for implementing at least 70% of the European Green Deal legislation - that the objectives of a climate neutral Europe by 2050 can be met.

In the letter sent to EU leaders, the Local Alliance highlights that Europe’s pace of success to achieve the Green Deal objectives will depend on the following help for cities and regions: 

  • More joined up support for investments from the EU, national and regional funds across different funding programmes and actors, which are more responsive to locally developed integrated and holistic action and investment plans. This would also be a prerequisite for creating local jobs and markets for the European green industry. 
  • Cities and regions need adequate in-house skills and a workforce to successfully do their part of the climate neutrality transition and by doing so, to create demand for European businesses and industries.
  • Establishing structured dialogues with the local and regional level at the EU and national level will be critical to achieving the necessary transformation and societal resilience at scale in Europe. 

“European cities and regions have embraced the EU Green Deal and engaged their local communities in bringing about sustainable local change. We call on EU and national decision makers to take the next step in providing clarity, financial support and meaningful cooperation mechanisms to help put policy into practice. In this EU election year, it is more urgent than ever to bring on board local governments as serious partners for shaping a sustainable, fair, democratic and just European future.” - says Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director, ICLEI Europe. 

The Local Alliance is commited to work with national governments, the European Council, Commission and Parliament to turn the European Green Deal into reality for every citizen across Europe. Access the full letter here