On Friday afternoon, the Secretary for the Environment and Sustainability, Marta Subirà, reaffirmed the Government's commitment to the European Green Deal, at the virtual meeting of the Four Motors for Europe (4ME). It is an interregional cooperation association created in 1988 between Catalonia, Baden-Württemberg, Lombardy and the Rhône-Alpes, with the aim of increasing the economic, scientific, social and cultural potential of these territories.
Catalonia and the Catalan Government took over the presidency of the group last September from Lombardy, and it will hold it until 2021. The participants were Baden-Württemberg's Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector, Franz Untersteller; the Minister for the Environment and Climate of Lombardy region, Raffaele Cattaneo, and the Vice-President of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and CEO of Environment, Sustainable Development, Energy and Natural Parks, Eric Fournier.
The ministers of the 4ME meet regularly. Last Friday, there was an exchange of the latest developments in circular economy and climate policy and a policy discussion on the political position of the group in terms of biodiversity and agriculture.
During her speech, Marta Subirà reaffirmed "Catalonia's total commitment to a united and connected Europe at the heart of the European project" and called for "a recover from the impacts of the pandemic, using the Agenda 2030, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Deal as a guide”.
In the field of circular economy, she defended that “the current challenge is to work for an inclusive circular economy”, and reminded that “we are currently actively working to produce a circular economy roadmap that brings together a structured and consistent synthesis with the efforts made by different ministries and interest groups”. This roadmap will thus set common objectives to put in everyone's efforts to the same direction, as well as the reference projects to lead change.
In particular, the secretary mentioned the future law on waste prevention and management and efficient use of resources on which the Waste Agency of Catalonia is working. The first waste law, although pioneer at the time, was passed in 1993. This new text will enable "to reach 2050 by having contributed to solving these problems, protecting people's health and the environment by preserving resources, strengthening the economy and the companies and creating new jobs", the secretary said.
In this sense, she pointed out that this bill “transposes the circular economy package, the revised legislative proposals on waste and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive”.
Declaration of support to the European Green Deal
In last Friday's meeting, a statement by all 4ME members to strongly support the objectives and initiatives of the European Green Deal was approved. The commitments are the following:
- To become a climate-neutral Europe with clean greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to improve the current objective of reductions by 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
- To accelerate the transition to a circular economy as a basis for a resource-efficient, competitive and inclusive economy in our highly industrialized regions including businesses and consumers.
- To promote the energy transition focused on the promotion of decentralized and participatory renewable energies. In addition, to have a leading position in sectoral integration, especially in the field of green hydrogen.
- To double the renovation rate of the existing buildings.
- To fight against environment pollution, either land, water or air pollution.
- To protect biodiversity, reverse the degradation of ecosystems and improve the resilience of ecosystems to adapt to climate change and improve the quality of life in our regions.
- To achieve a sustainable and healthy food system, from agricultural production, to industrial agri-food processing and to consumption.
- To improve our mobility and transportation systems to make them more efficient, safe, carbon neutral and affordable.
- To make the transition fair and inclusive in order to enable everyone to participate in the upcoming challenges.
- To promote new emerging economic activities related to the ecological transition and based on research and innovation in order to develop clean technologies, new markets, business models and jobs.
- To ensure that investments in our regions are consistent with the new taxonomy.