At the opening of the EU Green Cities Summit in Brussels, high-level speakers including Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment; Raymond Johansen, Mayor of Oslo; and Duarte Corderio, Vice-Mayor of Lisbon, threw the spotlight on urban sustainability in EU cities.
The summit tackled questions about how we can steer cities towards a sustainable path, and what the EU can do to support cities, spread successes, improve the ways cities are governed and help them plan for the long-term. Speakers also focused on transitioning to the Circular Economy and how to accelerate its uptake and remove barriers to change.
European Commissioner for the Environment, Karemenu Vella said: 'The European Union has a responsibility not only to help its own cities to grow sustainably, but to help others do the same. We need to share the very best practices collected in Europe's most sustainable cities.
We invite you to share your experiences and ideas on how you think we can make sustainable urban planning become the norm across Europe.'
The EU Green Cities Summit continues in Brussels with an agenda packed with stimulating sessions on air quality, water, noise and sustainable urban strategies.
Speaking at the summit closing session, Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor of London, said: “the EU’s ambitious rules in a wide range of areas like air and water quality and waste have provided the framework which have allowed us to lead on action to protect our environment.” She also urged cities to cooperate: “environmental challenges are shared by cities across the EU. Working together to solve our problems is essential.”
Speaking during the closing event, Lambertz noted that EU funds make a big difference. For example, in Sofia, Bulgaria, the EU has provided funding that will allow the city’s metro system to be extended, reducing the volume of traffic and emissions. Read more about what local Bulgarian bloggers have to say in our ‘Tip of the day’ section.
Commissioner Vella wrapped-up the closing session with a frank assessment: “if we are honest, now is not yet the time for celebration…that will come when the local good practice examples we have heard about during EU Green Week become the standard across the EU.”
Also, 10 projects received LIFE Awards for their contribution to protecting the environment, supporting nature areas and fighting climate change! Congratulations to the winning projects from Belgium, Greece, Spain, Italy, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, and all 62 finalists!