Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
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News in brief

  • Ukrainian municipal delegation - 27.04.2023

    Members of a delegation of Ukrainian local and regional governments are on a study visit to Hungary as part of the “Bridges of Trust” initiative, where they visited the TÖOSZ Local Government Information and Coordination Center.
    The Ukrainian delegation was welcomed by TÖOSZ General Secretary dr. Ferenc Gyergyák. The participants exchanged on Hungarian and Ukrainian local government systems, the decentralisation reform in Ukraine and the role of local governments during the war.
    The Ukrainian delegation is on this study visit to work on projects of reconstruction in Kyiv, Sumy and Poltava regions. Extensive work is ongoing with three TÖOSZ member municipalities: Bácsalmás, Budakeszi and Pápa.
    “Bridges of Trust” is implemented by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) in partnership with the Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC) and with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe program, with the goal of contributing to the reconstruction efforts in Ukraine. During this project, local government associations of 10 CEMR members – including TÖOSZ – are promoting 30 new local government partnerships.
    The next exchange of experience, knowledge and expertise will take place in Latvia in a week. Also, a Solidarity Forum will take place on 8 May in Latvia to promote municipal cooperation between Ukrainian and EU municipalities, present the best examples of local support, raise awareness about the recovery and reconstruction efforts and discuss challenges that were encountered and addressed.
    More information on TÖOSZ Facebook page
  • Covenant of Mayors - 07.04.2023

    Mayors shed a light on cities’ essential role in discussion with EU Commission on energy crisis and climate targets
    Article from the Covenant of Mayors

    The Covenant of Mayors Board met with both directors of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and Directorate-General for Climate Action on 29-30 March. Mayors took the opportunity of the pressing issue of the energy crisis to make their message clear: cities play a key role in simultaneously reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian gas and reaching the EU’s climate neutrality objectives. Thus, the EU institution’s continuous and ongoing support to cities is crucial.

    The strength of the Covenant of Mayors is its political dimension, with a rotating political Board of 10 Mayors from frontrunner cities. They regularly convene and meet with high-level representatives of the European Commission to express cities’ most pressing needs. This gives cities an important outlet to constantly touch base with EU institutions on how they can further support local action in terms of climate and energy.

    This year, the energy crisis was undeniably the pressing issue framing the conversation in Brussels on 29-30March 2023. Not only was it the topic of the Covenant of Mayors 2023 Conference, but it also set the tone for the Board’s meeting with Commission directors. The energy crisis has given Mayors the spotlight to show the European Commission how cities are essential for reaching EU objectives – and Mayors did not shy away from using that spotlight and making their messages clear.

    Giving cities the means to tackle the energy and climate crises

    “Our response to the energy crises is the response to the climate crisis. That is what the RePowerEU is for: to reduce our dependence on Russian energy and aligned with the European Green Deal.” - Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Director-General for Energy.

    In her meeting with the mayors, Ditte Juul Jørgensen stressed the importance of cities in implementing REPowerEU and Green Deal objectives on the ground. She highlighted the importance of initiatives such as the Cities Energy Saving Sprint, as an excellent example of what can be done at the local level.

    But going beyond last winter’s successes, she insisted on the need for structural changes to face the winters to come, mentioning the recent reform of the electricity market design, meant to empower consumers and local communities. For these structural changes, Ditte Juul Jørgensen recognises cities as fundamental allies.

    Applauding the near-miracle that the Directorate-General for Energy accomplished last year to secure Europe’s energy supply, Mayors took this opportunity to underline that they were fundamental allies in this endeavour. And as fundamental allies, the EU should ensure that cities play a key role in a more long-term, integrated energy policy.

    After the 2023 Conference on March 30, the Board then met with European Commission’s Director General for Climate Action, Kurt Vandenberghe. Here, the discussion around the energy crisis gave way to the broader concern and long-term goal of climate-neutrality in 2050 and the implementation of the EU Green Deal. Kurt Vandenberghe also recognized cities as key allies and was keen to hear their feedback on new programmes that involve direct involvement of cities, such as the EU Mission 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, the Social Climate Fund, the Policy Support Facility, and all the other myriad of initiatives that exist.

    “Cities are the place of innovation. We can get so much feedback from you on the implementation of EU policy such as Fitfor55”. - Kurt Vandenberghe.

    In both meetings, mayors expressed how the energy crisis has created an opportunity to accelerate the local energy transition, as energy policy has become the biggest question for Europe. But this also needs to translate into concrete support for local and regional implementation.

    Mayors’ messages to both Director-Generals were concrete and clear.

     1.    Cities as the key to implementationThe main message was clear: without cities to implement policies on the ground, the EU will never reach its targets.


    What really set the tone of the meeting was the sense of urgency: everyone agreed that “the time is now”. Implementation cannot wait. And cities are key to accelerating the transition on the ground. They are the place where change happens. In this phase, it will be crucial that the EU capitalises on this potential and increases its support to cities.
     

    2.    Giving cities the means to implement the energy transition

    This increased support should take several forms.

    They suggested that the EU finance regional energy agencies to support the local energy transition. This sort of agency would greatly help border cities especially, by facilitating cross-border energy projects and production, currently extremely difficult. This would give more power to local and regional producers, and by extension, to citizens.

    They called on the EU to consider more direct funding streams from the EU to local governments for concrete projects and action. They also highlighted that this funding should be more long-term and not only 2 or 3-year projects.

    Beyond funding, another big concern from mayors is lack of capacity, expertise and skills that are available to them at local level to implement the transition. They called on the EU to support them find more #localstaff4climate: two big obstacles for implementation of renewables on territories.
     

    3.    Pressuring National Governments to cooperate

    National governments should be helping channel this funding and expertise. Unfortunately, instead of facilitating, they themselves usually become an obstacle – if not the greatest obstacle – for cities’ implementation. Not only do they not always engage and align with local level, but sometimes even, they withhold funding and block action for political reasons, as Mayor of Warsaw Rafal Trzasokowski underlined was happening more and more with the rise of populism in national governments across Europe.

    Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jørgensen recognised the importance of the current updating of National Energy and Climate Plans, and Article 11 of the Governance Regulation of the Energy Union and Climate Action, which mandates Member States to involve the local level in this process by setting up Energy and Climate Dialogues.

    Director-General for Climate Kurt Vandenberghe also referred to the Governance Regulation, pointing at its upcoming revision in the coming years as an opportunity to strengthen the role of cities in the EU policy making. He reminded that the European Commission also requested Member States to consult local governments for the implementation of the Social Climate Fund.

    Mayors called upon the EU to make sure they enforce Article 11 and hold National Governments accountable for its implementation. They also asked the EU to show louder support for cities’ efforts in implementing EU targets and milestones, to help cities push ambitions and weaken opposition that may come from the national level.

    Source of the article: Covenant of Mayors
  • Workshop - 30.03.2023

    A workshop for better community resilience in Israel
    The Federation of Local Authorities in Israel will be hosting an international resilience workshop in May 2023. During three days, participants will learn about Israeli concepts and models of emergency preparedness and community resilience.
     
    Individuals, families, businesses, and institutions that are prepared for tackling disasters are more likely to cope efficiently – and to recover faster. Such training reduces the risks of damage to critical infrastructure, lessens economic losses and softens the emotional impact of the catastrophe on the population.
     
    Once the steps of immediate emergency response are implemented, it is up to local leadership and the municipality's services to provide and facilitate all the necessary recovery measures. By supporting citizens and the community's institutions, local authorities can help restore and strengthen the community's cohesion.
     
    To help communities face emergency situations better, the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel will organize an international community resilience workshop in the coastal city of Nahariya (Israel) from 17 to 19 May 2023. During the event, participants will learn about concepts and methods from experts in the fields of welfare, social work, psychology and urban security. The initiative aims to provide participants with helpful Israeli models of preparedness and resilience that have been field-tested in real emergency situations.
     
    For more information on this initiative, visit the website of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel.
  • Bridges of Trust - 27.03.2023

    Looking for an external expertise to conduct trainings on the impact of EU policies
    CEMR is looking for an external expert located in an EU member state to conduct trainings on the impact of EU policies on local governments.

    Deadline to apply: 10 April 2023

    For more information, have a look at our call for tender.
  • Bridges of Trust - 23.03.2023

    Looking for an external expertise to conduct trainings for local governments
    CEMR is looking for an external expert located in an EU member state to conduct trainings on the specificities of the EU funding for local governments, project development and EU project management methodology.

    Deadline to apply: 06 April 2023

    For more information, have a look at our call for tender.
  • Call for tender - 08.03.2023

    Looking for an external expertise to develop an innovative HR initiative
    CEMR is looking for an external expert external expertise to develop and implement an innovative HR initiative alongside EUROCITIES and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

    Deadline to apply: 20 March 2023

    For more information, have a look at our call for tender.
  • Ukraine - 24.02.2023

    Declaration of the United Cities and Local Governments regarding Ukraine’s war
    In the light of the one-year anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion in Ukraine, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) released a declaration condemning the aggression.

    The organisation advocates for a peaceful solution based on dialogue leading towards Ukraine´s restoration.

    UCLG also stresses its support to all the victims of the tragedy, and promises to continuously welcome Ukrainian refugees across Europe and the world.
  • Call for tender - 21.02.2023

    Looking for an external expertise to develop partnerships in France and in Spain
    CEMR is looking for an external expert external expertise to create and develop partnerships between Ukrainian municipalities and local governments in France and Spain.

    Deadline to apply: 07 March 2023

    For more information, have a look at our call for tender.
  • Call for tender - 17.02.2023

    Looking for an external expertise to develop partnerships in Italy
    CEMR is looking for an external expert external expertise to create and develop partnerships between Ukrainian municipalities and local governments in Italy.

    Deadline to apply: 03 March 2023

    For more information, have a look at our call for tender.
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