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Local government leaders have appealed to Members of the European Parliament to engage cities toward achieving a successful EU energy transition.According to Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), local and regional leaders representing five major networks of local governments met with Members of the European Parliament to drive home the importance of local level involvement in EU energy and climate policy.

In a release, the global network of over 1,500 cities, towns and regions, said that the five major networks, known as the Urban 5, point to the local level’s power to
provide jobs, its proximity to the people and its swift ability to deliver change as essential components for energy transition success.

It added that prior to the policy debate in the European Parliament, the Urban 5, comprised of Climate Alliance, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Energy Cities, EUROCITIES, and ICLEI – outlined their position in a joint policy statement.

Local involvement in clean energy policy and budget

The paper targets EU policy makers as they negotiate the Clean Energy Package and EU budget and calls for a governance framework that empowers local governments to contribute to the energy transition. One important pillar of such a framework would be better access to finance for cities, towns, and regions to foster investments in local renewable energy. The right to self-produce and consume electricity is also cited as a way to encourage broad participation in the energy transition.

European local governments further call for a planning and reporting system that addresses barriers to delivering the Energy Union at the local level as well as for
ambitious 2030 and 2050 energy and climate targets. This would put Europe on a path to meet its international commitments whilst improving the quality of life of its
people.

MEP Theresa Griffin, was reported saying: "Citizens, cities, local governments and regions are the backbone of the energy transition. The Energy Union should provide an adequate framework to promote their full participation as this will enable us to respond to key challenges including the question of energy poverty."

"Multilevel governance is the future of clean energy deployment in Europe. Regions and cities will play a crucial role to capture the multiple benefits of the energy
transition: price lowering, citizen empowerment, local production, new jobs, cleaner air," added MEP Claude Turmes.

As a result of the meeting, MEP Turmes invited the local and regional leaders of the Urban 5 to regular exchange meetings on crucial issues related to EU energy and climate policies. The next meeting is envisaged to take place by end of September 2017.