Europe must strengthen its relationship with China to boost sustainable development.
That’s according to the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Markku Markkula, who advised this needs to be done “to address the lack of public funding for sustainable urban development in Europe”.
Speaking at the China-EU Urbanisation Partnership Forum 2015, he stressed the importance of city pairings and partnerships between regions and cities in energy efficiency, smart services, urban sustainability and the circular economy.
Mr Markkula said: “Local authorities play a growing role in China’s efforts to redress economic imbalances, reduce disparity in living standards and foster sustainable growth.
“Their new competences and the use of innovative financial solutions – such as bonds and credit facilities – boost this trend and make co-operation with EU regions and cities a strategic asset for both partners.”
The CoR President called for the Covenant of Mayors – which includes more than 6,400 local and regional authorities – to be expanded globally.
The Covenant of Mayors is a movement which has voluntarily committed to the EU’s 2020 targets of improving energy efficiency, increasing renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions by 20% each.
Mr Markkula added: “The CoR expects the Commission to give the Covenant of Mayors a more prominent role in strengthening energy and climate policies and support its expansion worldwide as a means of spreading multi-level governance.”