Brussels, 10 October 2012
Investing in regions and renewable energy sources will help deliver EU's ambitious Energy Roadmap 2050
The Committee of the Regions (CoR) has backed the European Commission's plans to reduce energy consumption and commit to shifting towards more sustainable energy resources, but has urged that far more needs to be done to support local and regional authorities if these objectives are to be achieved. The European Commission unveiled its Energy Roadmap 2050 in December last year which seeks to achieve the EU's target of reducing greenhouse emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 while protecting energy supply and maintaining competitiveness. Ugo Cappellacci (IT/EPP), President of the Region of Sardinia and rapporteur of the Energy Roadmap 2050 opinion adopted today, said: "We wholeheartedly support the Commission’s strategy but proper funding and support is needed if we are to unlock the potential of local and regional authorities in delivering these ambitious goals".
During the discussion on the Roadmap, Europe's cities and regions argued that the current plans are not sufficient to support local and regional authorities whose role is key in supporting the drive to a low-carbon society. Ugo Cappellacci (IT/EPP) said: "Local and regional authorities are on the front line when it comes to delivering planning, managing public contracts, managing production and controlling energy consumption. They are involved in implementing national energy plans and are also responsible for certain forms of energy production, processing, transport, storage and waste treatment infrastructure".
The CoR has called for these responsibilities to be reflected in the provision of proper funding. The opinion calls for the simplification and improved access to funding from the European Investment Bank with priority given to projects on energy efficiency and renewable energy. It goes further suggesting the adoption of additional measures such as banning national subsidies for fossil fuels and instead money should be invested directly into renewable energy. Additionally, the CoR's opinion takes into account growing public concern and costs associated with nuclear production and dismantlement. Subsidies should instead be used for alternative renewable forms of energy to achieve the shift towards a sustainable energy supply.
The CoR also raised concerns about the lack of reference to the energy efficiency of buildings in the Roadmap. Though buildings use about 40% of all primary energy in the EU, insufficient investment was being directed into reducing building energy emissions, an area of responsibility for local and regional authorities.
The Committee of the Regions
The Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. The mission of its 344 members from all 27 EU Member States is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are obliged to consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. It can appeal to the EU Court of Justice if its rights are infringed or it believes that an EU law violates the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.
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