Lunch Debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework from a regional perspective and the future LIFE programme

Yesterday, the 7th November 2018, FEDARENE organised its second ‘LunchEU’ on the next MFF and the LIFE programme.

This event was attended by MEPs Isabelle Thomas and Davor Škrlec, Vincent Berrutto and Paula Rey Garcia from the European Commission, and prominent figures of the FEDARENE network. The goal was to discuss the weaknesses of the European Union’s approach to funding in relation to the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), including the future LIFE Programme. 

Earlier this year, the European Parliament reminded us the decisive role regions and cities will play in tackling climate change (European Parliament resolution of 13 March 2018) emphasizing that local and regional authorities are responsible for implementing the majority of the mitigation and adaptation measures for climate change and most of the EU legislation on the subject. But we can’t do it alone, the European Union’s support is and will be crucial. A Multiannual Financial Framework that enables its cities and regions to achieve their Climate and Energy targets, what does it mean?How can regions and cities support the current negotiations and secure an ambitious and climate-proofed EU budget? Where should be the priorities and how can local and regional authorities make the most of the EU budget’s added value?

Responding together to these questions was the main objective of FEDARENE’s lunch debate held on the 7th of November, where the European association shared its recommendations for a Forward-Looking MFF post-2020 and an Effective and Inclusive LIFE programme. The event set the frame for an inter-institutional and multilevel discussion between representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission, EASME, Regions, Cities and their Energy Agencies. The debate has held on the premises of the “Representation of the Free State of Thuringia to the EU”.

Michael Geissler, CEO of the Berlin Energy Agency, opened the discussion by reminding the room of FEDARENE’s stance on the EU Budget. A Multiannual Financial Framework that enables its cities and regions to achieve their Climate and Energy targets means financial programmes that enable local and regional authorities to build their capacities and facilitate the market uptake of clean energy solutions and deployment of innovative technologies supporting our energy transition. In this regard, FEDARENE welcomes the European Parliament’s recommendations to increase the climate-related spending to reach 30 % as soon as possible and to introduce a specific allocation (EUR 4 billion) for a new energy transition fund.

Isabelle Thomas, French MEP and co-rapporteur on the next MFF, expressed the European Parliament’s demand of having 30% of the future EU Budget dedicated to Climate by 2027, opposing the idea of reducing funding to the Common Agricultural Policy, the Cohesion Fund and sustainable energy actions.

Croatian MEP Davor Škrlec, member of the Environment Committee, reminded participants of the importance of the LIFE programme and the engagement of citizens. 

Our President Julije Domac reminded us that as the EU set itself new targets for sustainable energy by 2030, as a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction is being developed and as the IPCC 1.5° report calls for rapid changes in our societies, the debate on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is an opportunity to give ourselves the appropriate means to achieve our climate and energy transformation. This implies:

  • a strong cohesion policy (without cuts and with emphasis on the energy transition as a horizontal pillar of the cohesion policy that provides solutions to multiple policy challenges);
  • an inclusive and effective clean energy transition sub-programme under LIFE (co-financing rate for the clean energy transition sub-programme needs to be set at a minimum of 80%, application and evaluation procedure in the new LIFE programme should be simplified by following the model of the Horizon 2020);
  • multilevel Climate and Energy Dialogue as required by the Energy Union Governance regulation (the implementation of EU’s financial programmes supporting Climate and Energy must be organised and monitored through active and mandatory dialogue).

These official speeches were followed by a lively discussion with FEDARENE members and European Commission representatives –  the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), and Paula Rey Garcia from the European Commission, DG Energy. Vincent Berrutto, Head of Unit at EASME explained the catalyst role of projects co-funded under LIFE and Horizon 2020 that contribute to sustainable energy market uptake. Paula Rey Garcia, Buildings and Finance team leader in the Energy Efficiency Unit of DG Energy, reminded the participants of the 2030 targets enshrined in the Clean Energy for All European Package and the means the European Commission is proposing to achieve them.

Read FEDARENE’s official recommendations