The mayors of Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Warsaw believe that during our recovery from all the damages caused by COVID-19, we need to keep in mind climate change which poses a much more significant challenge for society than the coronavirus. “Our main task is to keep people safe, which means that we have to face these great challenges. To do that, however, we need financial resources and a reliable partner. That’s why we turned to the EU for help,” says the Mayor of the City of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib.
The V4 capitals support the objectives of the European Green Deal initiative and want to have its targets included as central components of the EU’s strategy for recovery from the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “This crisis cannot be buried under coal. The capitals of the V4 countries are determined to continue in their work to protect the climate to ensure that our planet is not only habitable, but also a healthy environment for future generations. That is why Prague has made its climate commitment which we consider crucial,” said Petr Hlubuček, the Deputy Mayor of the City of Prague responsible for the environment.
The mayors note that in order to enable cities to invest in projects that will help with recovery after the pandemic and tackle climate change, targeted funding for cities is essential. The capitals of the V4 countries have very limited access to structural and cohesion funds of the EU. Even though they welcome the possibility of utilising Integrated Territorial Investments, they believe it is crucial for cities to also have access to other specialised instruments for supporting investment, such as agreements between cities and the EU and other integrated measures.
The capital cities also propose that the new EU measures aiming to remedy the damages caused by the pandemic should include a special European Building Renovation Fund that would provide to cities and to European citizens grants connected to loans.
The climate crisis together with the pandemic is for the EU an unprecedented test of cooperation between member states. The capitals of the V4 countries want to work together with the governments of member states to help build a healthy, green and resilient Europe.
“In a situation when the national government is taking our investment funds away from us, this joint effort by several European cities is one of few reasons to be optimistic It’s not just energy savings in buildings; decentralised energy using renewable resources, the use of waste as a source of raw materials and energy, sustainability and most importantly trees and more greenery in the streets will make Prague habitable in the decades to come. Quality of life and economic prosperity can go hand in hand. I’m glad that in this respect, the priorities of the V4 capitals and Europe’s aims are the same. The green recovery of cities starts now,” added Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.