Given that roughly 75% of Europe’s population lives in cities – according to Eurostat statistics - the EU’s urban areas are important contributors to the EU’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which have a huge impact on climate change. At the same time cities are the main drivers of the EU’s economy, opening effective pathways to growth and jobs for Europe.
EU policies and cities
Tackling energy challenges also means promoting more attractive and competitive urban areas, healthier and more sustainable places to live in. Several policies, proposals and initiatives are in place to achieve these results at EU level:
- The energy union policy sets out the targets and actions to transform the European energy system into the most sustainable in the world.
- The Urban Agenda for the EU promotes better laws, easier access to funding and more knowledge sharing on issues relevant for cities, bringing together the Commission, national ministries, city governments and other stakeholder.
- The smart cities policy context aims to support the energy union and the Urban Agenda.
- The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) promotes smart technologies in buildings to increase their energy efficiency.
- The EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy brings together thousands of local governments voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives in cities.
- The Strategic Energy Technology Plane (SET-Plan) promotes research and innovation efforts across Europe by supporting the most impactful technologies in the EU's transformation to a low-carbon energy system.
- The Smart Cities Information System (SCIS), which provides a lasting repository of information on smart city projects and serves as a knowledge platform to exchange data, experience and know-how.
European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC)
Together with a number of initiatives, the umbrella project of the smart cities policy context is the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC). This interdisciplinary effort aims at delivering practical knowledge, capacity-building opportunities, access to finance, finding partners and more, to establish a European smart city market, which helps delivering the energy union as well as making European cities the most liveable places in the world, thus directly and very practically supporting the aims of the Urban Agenda.