Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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News in brief

  • Looking for Consultants - 07.09.2023

    Organisation/ Expert Consultant in EU Project Development
    CEMR is in search of a certification organisation or expert proficient in EU project development and proposal writing. The objective will be to develop a specific training programme for the Local and Regional Governments and their associations.
    • Deadline for submissions: 22 September 2023, 12:00 (CET Time)
    • To be sent
    • Subject: Organisation/Expert Consultant on EU Project Development

    → For more information, click here 
  • Call for Proposals - 05.09.2023

    Subcontracting for external services on the production of an interactive video on the journey of the “Bridges of Trust” project
    CEMR is pleased to announce a call for proposals for external services to contribute to the Bridges of Trust video. The selected provider will be responsible for summarising project activities and enhancing the visibility of the project deliverables. This will be achieved through the development of an interactive video designed for promotional activities.
    → For more information, click here
  • EU-CELAC Summit: a multi-stake - 10.07.2023

    EU-CELAC Summit: a multi-stakeholder follow-up mechanism to ensure long-term engagement of local governments, civil society and trade unions

    In a joint letter sent yesterday (6 July), PLATFORMA and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), together with three associations of local and regional governments from Latin America and the Caribbean, about forty Civil Society Organisations and the European Trade Union Confederation, call on EU leaders and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to “establish an official space for multi-stakeholder dialogue”. This call for engagement was sent to Council President Michel, HR/VP Borell, Commissioner Urpilainen, Spanish President Sánchez and Belgian PM De Croo, ahead of the third EU-CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government which will be held in Brussels on 17-18 July 2023.

    At the initiative of the EU-LAC Civil Society Working Group, the signatories ask for an official multi-stakeholder follow-up mechanism. “It is therefore our expectation that the joint declaration that will be adopted at the summit will include a paragraph acknowledging civil society, trade unions, local governments and their associations key issues of concern and policy recommendations,” the letter says.

    CLGF, FLACMA and Mercociudades are the 3 co-signatories on local and governments’ side, together with PLATFORMA and CEMR.

    Ahead of the 3rd EU-CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government, the European Commission is organising next week (13-14 July) in Brussels the EU – Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) Forum. This forum’s main goal is to agree on recommendations from the different stakeholders ahead of the EU-CELAC Summit.

    During thematic sessions, the discussions will tackle key priority areas for the LAC region and the renewal of the bi-regional partnership:  the right to civic space, the respect of human rights and the feminist and youth lens in cooperation, the protection of democracy and local governance, the programming of adapted climate change policies, or the modalities of future agendas for cooperation between both regions, including recommendations in view of the EU’s investment agenda for the region, the so-called Global Gateway.

    The EU-CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government of 17-18 July is a historic occasion to bring together European, Latin American and Caribbean leaders to renew and strengthen relations between the two regions after almost a decade of absence of bi-regional dialogue at the highest political level. The summit will be held under the theme “Renewing the bi-regional partnership to strengthen peace and sustainable development”.

    Read the full letter

  • Online event - 22.06.2023

    The European Climate Initiative (EUKI) launches new format to discuss renovation in Europe
    The European Climate Initiative (EUKI) launches "EU Renovation Lunches", a new online format, which brings municipalities, local and regional authorities and stakeholders from all over the EU together. It provides an open and informal space to exchange about best practices, learnings and difficulties in implementing renovation but also to find partners for cooperation and support.

    In the first edition of the Renovation Lunch, "Sustainable Building Renovation – Forming the Future", Zlatka Nikolova (Association of Rhodope Municipalities) and Ivanka Pandelieva-Dimova (Sofia Energy Center) will be sharing insights, successes, challenges and learnings of their Rhodoshop project.

    Date: 28 June 2023
    Time: 12 – 1 pm CEST
    Location: online

    More information and registration here.

  • Internship - 21.06.2023

    CEMR is offering 3 internships
    Are you currently enrolled in a university programme?
    Are you interested in EU policy issues?
    Are you ready to learn a lot about European regions and municipalities?
    Then an internship at CEMR might be what you are looking for!

    CEMR is currently looking to recruit interns as follows:
    • 2 interns for policy work for a minimum of 4 months during the period September to December 2023 (exact dates to be agreed)
    While policy interns will work across various topics, candidates are invited to indicate their areas of interest among the thematic areas described below.
    • 1 intern for the PLATFORMA project for a minimum of 4 months during the period September to December 2023 (exact dates to be agreed)

    Find more information on the internships and how to apply here. Deadline for applications is 30 June 2023.
  • We are Hiring - 22.05.2023

    The Council of European Municipalities and Regions is #hiring!

    An exciting opportunity has arisen for a driven and creative Digital Communications Officer, passionate for digital content with a good understanding of digital technologies. We would like someone ambitious who can be a champion for our upcoming campaigns, and with a deep insight of the Pan-European media landscape and its trends.
    We are offering a 6-month contract with a possibility of renewal.

  • External Contractor - 02.05.2023

    CEMR is looking for External Contractor
    CEMR is looking for an external Contractor to collect data, analyse the findings and draft the study in the framework of the revision of the National Energy and Climate Plans.
    For more information about the process and deadline, please consult HERE
  • 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
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