26 February 2018

EU Covenant of Mayors celebrates 10th anniversary

Launched by the European Commission in 2008, the EU Covenant of Mayors brings together over 9,200 local authorities committed to meeting the EU's climate and energy objectives.

On 23 February, representatives of the participant cities met in Brussels (Belgium) to celebrate the initiative's anniversary and to discuss the future of the network.

The anniversary ceremony took place in the European Parliament, in the presence of Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete and Carlos Moedas, as well as the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and of the European Committee of Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz. The event offered an opportunity to take stock of the achievements of the last decade and showcase successful examples.


Commissioner Arias Cañete stressed, collectively, the cities taking part in the initiative have already cut greenhouse gas emissions by 23%, reduced average energy consumption per capita by 22%, and boosted the use of renewables up to five times more than at the launch of the Covenant of Mayors. Local authorities have also taken adaptation measures to cope with climate change impacts.

"These are impressive results, but they must encourage the entire community to confirm and step up its commitment," the Commissioner said, calling for the endorsement of the 2030 objectives, already signed by 1,000 local authorities.

The attendants also discussed the upcoming UN conference on climate change COP24, which will take place in Katowice (Poland) in December. Commissioner Arias Cañete announced a new initiative to select a group of Mayors that will become EU Covenant envoys, in order to make their voices heard at this global forum. "I look forward to being joined by such supportive an enthusiastic actors," he added.

Vice-President Šefčovič also highlighted the key role of local authorities in the global fight against climate change and in creating 'future proof' cities: "When Europe's Mayors and EU institutions work together, change will happen on the ground."

At the ceremony, Commissioner Moedas launched the 2018 European Capital of Innovation contest. This €1 million prize will reward cities who have built the most dynamic innovation ecosystems.

"Cities are really for me the beacon of innovation," said Moedas, inviting the attendants to take part in the competition for an award similar in size to the Nobel Prize. He recalled that cities are not afraid of experimenting, and that previous winners (Paris, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Barcelona, Spain) have achieved remarkable innovations.

During the event, the board of the EU Covenant of Mayors presented its vision for the future. The board is composed of mayors from Heidelberg (Germany), Seville (Spain), Ghent (Belgium), Växjö (Sweden) and the director of the North-West Croatia Energy Agency.

Among other speakers, the programme included local representatives from Florence (Italy), Bologna (Italy), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Almada (Portugal) Sonderborg (Denmark) Prešov (Slovakia), the region of Murcia (Spain), and Espoo (Finland).

For more information about the ceremony, visit the EU Covenant of Mayors website.