Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President, Energy Union at European Commission speaks to Open Access Government about making cities smarter, and offers his opinions on European mobility and the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition, in the fight against climate change
In the October 2018 edition of Open Access Government, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President, Energy Union at European Commission spoke to us about establishing a European Energy Union and the importance of all Europeans having access to secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy.
In a previously unpublished part of the interview, Maroš Šefčovič offered some additional thoughts around government policy which are relevant to this publication. He notes that the European Commission is very much encouraged by the cooperation of the Mayors in Europe who are supporting the Global Covenant of Mayors, which Maroš Šefčovič is the Co-Chair of.
By way of background, he was present on 22nd March 2018 to celebrate the establishment of Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy’s Global Secretariat in Brussels, supporting cities around the globe in the fight against climate change. On this day, Šefčovič noted that The Global Covenant will be welcomed in Brussels, as Europe’s Member States and cities have placed the fight against climate change at the heart of their priorities.(1)
Šefčovič explains to Open Access Government that mayors from all over the world are part of the Global Covenant of Mayors and that the Covenant of Mayors in the EU has 6,000 members. He then explains in his own words what they are aiming to achieve in terms of making cities smarter and “Urbis”, developed by the Commission and the European Investment Bank in 2017 to help cities plan and implement their investment strategies.(2)
“Together, they are working on how to make cities smarter, cleaner and better for their citizens. Now, a platform has been established for cities and for Global Urbis: “Urbis” is a word which we created based on the word “urban”. So, on this platform, every mayor will have access to potential financing, with help from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and from the World Bank Group, which might be useful for smarter technologies.” (3)
In closing, Šefčovič also offers his opinions on European mobility and the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition, which both fit in with the EU’s commitment to a clean energy transition, something they believe is irreversible and non-negotiable.
“Also, what is very important for European Mobility is to make sure that our cities have less air pollution and, therefore, we propose that each city should be low or zero emission. This means the uptake of electric vehicles, hydrogen or hybrid engines which is quite a challenge. We have established the EU Battery Alliance (4) and they want to ensure that batteries are of the highest quality and manufactured in Europe, fully corresponding
to the new electricity market and all the new energy legislation.
“Finally, we know it is important not to leave anyone behind and I know that in Europe and across the world, the coal miners are worried about the future for their region and their jobs. Therefore, we started the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition where we are
helping businesses to find a new economic future. So, the new investors could help a number of regions.” (5)
1 ht tps: / /ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2014-
Vice-President, Energy Union