By Bruno Fortea Miras
Brussels.- The Committee of the Regions (CdR), which brings together municipalities and regions of the European Union, called on Tuesday, through its president Vasco Cordeiro, for more support for local authorities to avoid the risk that, in his words, some cities “have no electricity” this winter.
“We are seeing worrying signs across Europe, with cities at risk of having no electricity and struggling to provide essential services, such as public transport and waste management, or simply to keep children warm at school”, warned Cordeiro during the CoR plenary session in Brussels.
The Portuguese leader rejected the idea of a Europe where “people have to choose between eating or turning on the heating” and, in front of regional and local officials gathered in plenary session, he recommended that they put in place measures to energy saving.
“Reduce the ambient temperature in public buildings, turn off the lights of monuments at night, reduce speed limits in urban areas, invest in renewable energy or raise public awareness,” Cordeiro listed in the list of measures.
Speaking to journalists after the plenary session, the CoR president added that beyond meeting the challenge of rising energy prices, the EU must continue to deepen its climate agenda long term and not get bogged down in resolving the current crisis.
“We must not reduce our dependence on fossil fuels just because Europe depends on Russia for it, but because it is the right thing to do, and it has been the right thing to do for decades. This may be a red flag, but we must never lose sight of the bigger picture,” he said.
In a pause, the President of the Andalusian Government, Juanma Moreno, stressed the need to complete the ecological transition in the face of the current energy crisis and, in statements to EFE and another media, assured that 54% of the production of energy in your area is already coming from renewable sources.
“Of course we have to look for energy alternatives and, of course, in Spain, which is a southern country, one of the options we have is photovoltaics and green hydrogen. I think we have to bet decisively, like we do in Andalusia,” the popular leader said.
End of the war in Ukraine
For her part, the Minister of the Presidency of the Government of Cantabria, Paula Fernández Viaña, assured that the end of the conflict in Ukraine would be essential to release the energy pressure: “Europe must get more involved, this war must end, “, she told EFE and another outlet.
“The other day I was in a very small town in Cantabria, barely 300 inhabitants, and whose mayor told me that an annual electricity cost of 30,000 euros was going to go down to 80,000, and that I was going to have to turn off the lights in the streets. There is a lot of concern, we are not going to do anything alone, and Europe’s support is essential to end the conflict,” he insisted.
On the other hand, for the General Director of Foreign Action of the Junta de Extremadura, Rosa Balas, the situation in her community and in Spain as a whole is more bearable, as she told EFE and to another medium, than in the rest of Europe.
“In Extremadura we are lucky to be a big exporter of renewable energy in Spain and to be part of this Iberian island that allows the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to be softer compared to the realities experienced by other regions and towns in Europe,” he said after attending the CoR plenary session.
This plenary session of the Committee of the Regions will last until Wednesday, coinciding with the celebration of the European Week of Cities and Regions, and the publication of a report on the annual state of these sub-state entities which rightly warns, that the The war in Ukraine and the climate crisis have contributed to increasing territorial imbalances in the EU.
Web edited: Javier Agramunt