Continuing on Ukraine’s path to a green energy future
Speech by the President of the European Parliament at the opening of the Covenant of Mayors.
Ladies and gentlemen,
âThe European Parliament, home of European democracy, has been hosting the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy ceremony for more than ten years, welcoming mayors and local leaders to Brussels. Last year, the event could not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. , but today I am delighted to be able to meet me. We see the increasingly visible and dramatic signs of climate change before our eyes, and the time to act is now. We are working on concrete legislative acts to implement the Green Deal. Therefore, this event could not be more timely.
âLet me first congratulate you on the success of the Pact: more than 10,000 cities have joined, representing more than 325 million inhabitants from 53 countries. These are impressive numbers. As you know, we share similar goals: to accelerate decarbonization, to strengthen the capacity to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change and to provide citizens with access to safe, sustainable and affordable energy.
âFuel poverty is a problem for all Europeans, in all Member States. As winter approaches, we are witnessing an increase in energy prices, and citizens and businesses are understandably worried. As with COVID-19, we must join forces and provide a coordinated European response. Our exposure to the volatility of global gas prices underscores the importance of our plan to build a strong domestic renewable energy sector. We need to act on energy efficiency, which can really be a breakthrough. Cities manage large portfolios of buildings, from schools to libraries to housingâ¦ The energy transition represents an opportunity to improve access to better quality housing.
“The European Parliament is determined to work towards achieving a climate neutral society by 2050, and is fully committed to transforming the Union into a healthier, more sustainable, just, just and prosperous society.
âThe ecological transition will involve all EU policies and affect all regions of the EU in various ways. Therefore, only a holistic and inclusive approach to the implementation of the Green Deal will allow us to achieve our ambitions. It is for this reason that the European Parliament is in favor of enhanced cooperation with European cities and regions in its work. It is crucial that European institutions, MEPs, national governments and local elected representatives join forces to ensure that the energy and climate transition leaves no one behind and improves the quality of life of all European citizens, creating new opportunities and strengthening social cohesion.
âLast year, the European Commission launched a climate pact. The Compact provides an opportunity to bring together national governments, local communities, civil society, schools, businesses and individuals to share information, create spaces to express innovative ideas, both collectively and individually, and strengthen capacities to facilitate local initiatives on climate change and environmental protection.
âThe European Parliament is an ardent promoter of the work of the Covenant of Mayors. Your work and local initiatives, producing concrete results, will ensure that the EU and its Member States respect their international commitments and the objectives of the Paris Agreement. bottom-up initiatives are also essential to encourage behavior change, ensuring a profound transformation of society.
âIt will be necessary to mobilize substantial public and private investments, in all policies, to help the communities most affected by decarbonisation, while encouraging proactive projects and initiatives.
âEuropean cities also have an important role to play in accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility. The European Parliament called for a broader urban mobility plan to reduce traffic and improve the quality of life in cities, for example by supporting transport, as well as cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. European cities, with their practical experience and expertise, should be involved in the discussion on the implementation of future mobility policies at EU level.
âIn addition, the development of green spaces in urban areas, rich in biodiversity, will be important to help fight against air pollution, noise, heat waves, floods and public health problems in European cities.
“The EU must continue to act as a leader in climate action and is called upon to play, through its diplomacy, a leading role in convincing other global players, such as China and India, to ” raising their ambitions at COP26 in Glasgow – turning commitments into concrete policy measures. Time is running out and global action is crucial for the success of the fight against climate change. In this context, your role will be essential, both through the twinning program and the Pact offices outside Europe Cities must be at the forefront of global leadership in the fight against climate change.
“I would like to assure you that the European Parliament, in defining the European Green Deal, will ensure that European cities are involved and able to do their part, not only as important allies, but also as active partners.