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The Covenant of Mayors Board meets Commissioner for Energy & Climate Action Arias Cañete

By Floriane Cappelletti on 4 July 2017

On 20 June, the members of the European Covenant of Mayors Board met in Brussels to discuss the strategic orientations of the initiative. Later in the morning, European Commissionner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cañete joined them to exchange on energy and climate policy. The mayors shared several proposals with the commissioner.

After a meeting of the European Covenant of Mayors Board, Mayor of Heidelberg Eckart Würzner, Deputy Mayor of Växjö Asa Karlsson Björkmarker, President of the Province of Barcelona Mercè Conesa I Pagès, Mayor of Udine Furio Honsell, Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont, and Deputy Mayor of Paris Christophe Najdovski were joined by Commissioner Arias Cañete.

Commissioner Arias Cañete gave the mayors an overview of the European Commission’s Mobility Package, one of the key elements of which is the deployment of e-mobility solutions. The commissioner insisted on the need for less polluting cars, saying that a €500 million budget could be dedicated to this issue. Mr Arias Cañete also specified that local governments had a crucial part to play, notably in facilitating the deployment of charging stations.

On the matter, Mayor of Heidelberg and President of Energy Cities Eckart Würzner insisted on the fact that, according to him, mayors should focus on changing citizens’ behaviour to develop public transport and promote active mobility (walking, cycling...). A statement that was widely shared by his peers, and notably by Christophe Najdovski - Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of mobility, who explained that one of the municipality’s priority was to reduce "solo driving" (single-person car journeys) and to promote the shift to multimodality and alternatives such as car-sharing. Indeed, increasing the average number of passengers per car from currently 1.2 to 1.7 would contribute to solving the congestion and air quality issues in Paris.

The group also discussed the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package, energy renovation of buildings, the next multi-annual financial framework... Eckart Würzner suggested that Urban Transition Agencies would be created to help local governments in implementing EU policies at local level. Those agencies could be financially supported through the European Structural Funds.

The Covenant of Mayors Board members handed out a declaration to Commissioner Arias Cañete, in which they reaffirm their commitment to energy transition and climate protection and remind the essential role local governments play in the implementation of EU policies.

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