Athens and 14 other major European cities are asking the European Union for direct access to funds in the bloc’s next long-term budget to help the EU reach its goal of becoming neutral in terms of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, a letter showed on Wednesday.
Mayors of 15 large European cities told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that they could act faster than national governments and were less constrained by pressures from the fossil fuel industry.
“The fight against climate change will be won or lost in cities,” said the mayors of Athens, Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Vienna, The Hague, Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Frankfurt, Kosice, Milan and Strasbourg.
Almost three-quarters of Europeans live in urban areas, which now receive EU money with national governments acting as intermediaries, mostly from the so-called cohesion funds meant to equalize living conditions across the 27-nation bloc.
“We urge European institutions to recognize cities’ and urban areas’ pivotal role in implementing strategic green policy objectives and to allocate directly accessible, city-tailored EU funds to secure those outcomes,” the letter said.