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What Does the European Green Deal Mean for Cities and Metropolitan Areas?

What Does the European Green Deal Mean for Cities and Metropolitan Areas?

10 March 2020
Cities and metropolitan areas can make a decisive contribution to European climate neutrality. However, this is not yet part of the European Green Deal.

The Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) and the Àerea Metropolitanade Barcelona (AMB) invited Doris Knoblauch from Ecologic Institute to speak at the workshop "Metropolitan Challenges in the post 2020 European Union" in Barcelona (Spain), on 10 March 2020. In her presentation, the expert discussed the substantive and organisational importance of the European Green Deal for cities and metropolitan areas.

While the other speakers mainly focused on the financial implications of the European Green Deal (EGD) for cities and metropolitan areas, especially with regard to access to funding, Doris Knoblauch emphasised that enormous efforts are needed by society as a whole to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050, because according to the EGD, Europe should be the first continent to become climate neutral. This requires not only EU support regarding funding, but above all a societal idea that is capable of gaining a majority and that represents society as a whole on how this can be achieved.

In addition to these substantive questions, organisational and governance issues also play an important role: How can it be ensured that the special needs of cities and metropolitan areas are heard in the EU? Certain European cities have more inhabitants than some European countries and could make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gases. However, it is important to know how this process should be organised. Should the EU systematically include and involve cities and metropolitan areas in its decisions? Or should the big cities proactively try to bring their positions into EU policy?

In conclusion, Doris Knoblauch stressed that a well thought-out overall package is needed to achieve climate neutrality. Individual measures alone are not enough. So far, the EGD is only a communication; now it has to be shown whether it will be filled with content and can thus serve as a compass for cities and metropolitan areas for which the points of contact in the EGD are not immediately obvious.

Other experts* on the panel were Dominika Forgáčová (Brussels Office of the Bratislava Region, Slovakia) and Antonì Farrero (Barcelona Metropolitan Region). The panel was moderated by Hannah Abdullah from the Barcelona Center for International Affairs (CIDOB).