FEDARENE joins EU networks of municipalities in a campaign proposing measures to the EU Member States and the European Commission to give cities the staffing means of their climate ambitions.
EU cities and municipalities cannot become climate neutral through wishful thinking. The process requires time, technical, financial, and human resources from local and regional governments and their related public bodies. They map renewable sources, plan the transition, and implement projects. These duties are carried out by women and men who work for and with municipalities. They involve local economic actors and civil society groups, assess the needs and context of each neighbourhood, and bring support to residents and local businesses. By mobilising society and providing decarbonisation strategies, local governments can unlock billions in investments and create millions of jobs.
EU cities and municipalities cannot become climate neutral through wishful thinking
The European Union (EU) is increasingly acknowledging the role of local and regional governments in the transition to climate neutrality. The European Commission has for example suggested that every municipality with more than 50,000 inhabitants should be required to design heating and cooling plans1. For those plans to increase the decarbonisation of buildings and contribute to the EU goal of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 55% by 2030, subnational governments and their public agencies need more resources2.
Local and regional governments and their related public bodies are struggling to recruit the necessary staff as highlighted in the Covenant of Mayors Board’s open letter. They face three main challenges. First, local authorities’ operating budgets are too limited, this prevents them from opening new long-term positions. Second, workforce investments for the climate and energy transition are not exempt from the strict rules governing local government expenses. Third, employment positions with local governments are less attractive than those in other economic sectors (especially in terms of salary).
WE URGE NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS OF EU MEMBER STATES AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO:
The authors and signatories of this manifesto look forward to discussing ways to achieve these objectives with national and European decision makers.
1 *Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) recast, article 23.6
2 *The current EED recast proposes in the article 23.6 that “Member States shall support regional and local authorities to the utmost extent possible by any means including financial support and technical support schemes”