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Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, responds to Mircea Hava’s question on financing the energy efficiency of buildings: Support for building renovation, essential for recovery

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© colaj foto (European Union 2019 - Source : EP/ European Union 2019 - Source : EP)

EU Cohesion Policy Funds have been used to improve the energy performance of buildings and will continue to be used in this sector, said Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, to MEP Mircea Hava (PNL, EPP), according to a press release.

MEP Mircea Hava has addressed a written parliamentary question to Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, regarding financing the energy performance of residential buildings.

”What are the main guidelines and recommendations that the European Commission will provide to Member States regarding planning, selection and monitoring the financing projects for improving the energy performance of residential buildings?”, asked Hava, member of Committee on Regional Development (REGI) of the European Parliament.

Thus, the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms emphasized in her answer that “the renovation of public and private buildings was identified in the European Green Deal as a key initiative to stimulate energy efficiency in this sector and achieve the goal of making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. Support for building renovation should also be essential for recovery, stimulating economic activity and jobs creation”, said Ferreira.

”In order to cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty, The European Commission has published its Renovation Wave Strategy, aiming to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency”, reminded Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms.

The European Commissioner also recalled that ”Member States are encouraged to ensure that their co-financed energy efficiency and resource efficiency programs are well geared toward improving the energy performance of buildings. The guidance document on financing the energy renovation of buildings through cohesion policy funds remains relevant and provides useful support to Member States in planning, selecting and implementing energy efficiency projects. Cohesion policy funds should also be used to address the challenge of energy poverty. Finally, Member States should complement the implementation of EU co-funded programs with additional support schemes”, Ferreira added.

The European Commission published last year its Renovation Wave Strategy to improve the energy performance of buildings. The Commission aims to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency.

This will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, foster digitalisation and improve the reuse and recycling of materials. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.

The strategy will prioritise action in three areas: decarbonisation of heating and cooling; tackling energy poverty and worst-performing buildings; and renovation of public buildings such as schools, hospitals and administrative buildings. The Commission proposes to break down existing barriers throughout the renovation chain – from the conception of a project to its funding and completion – with a set of policy measures, funding tools and technical assistance instruments.

The strategy will include the following lead actions:

  • Stronger regulations, standards and information on the energy performance of buildings to set better incentives for public and private sector renovations, including a phased introduction of mandatory minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings, updated rules for Energy Performance Certificates, and a possible extension of building renovation requirements for the public sector;
  • Ensuring accessible and well-targeted funding, including through the ‘Renovate’ and ‘Power Up’ Flagships in the Recovery and Resilience Facility under NextGenerationEU, simplified rules for combining different funding streams, and multiple incentives for private financing;
  • Increasing capacity to prepare and implement renovation projects, from technical assistance to national and local authorities through to training and skills development for workers in new green jobs;
  • Expanding the market for sustainable construction products and services, including the integration of new materials and nature-based solutions, and revised legislation on marketing of construction products and material reuse and recovery targets;
  • Creating a New European Bauhaus, an interdisciplinary project co-steered by an advisory board of external experts including scientists, architects, designers, artists, planners and civil society. From now until summer 2021 the Commission will conduct a broad participatory co-creation process, and will then set up a network of five founding Bauhaus in 2022 in different EU countries.
  • Developing neighbourhood-based approaches for local communities to integrate renewable and digital solutions and create zero-energy districts, where consumers become prosumers selling energy to the grid. The strategy also includes an Affordable Housing Initiative for 100 districts.

Teodora Ion este redactor-șef adjunct și specialistă în domeniul relațiilor internaționale. Aria sa de expertiză include procesul retragerii Marii Britanii din Uniunea Europeană, relațiile comerciale globale și competiția pentru supremație dintre marile puteri ale lumii. Teodora este corespondent în cadrul summit-urilor Consiliului European și al celorlalte reuniuni decizionale de la nivelul UE.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: The most effective weapon against Russia’s blackmail to turn off the gas tap is EU solidarity

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The cut-off of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria should be the start of the EU finding solutions to disconnect Europe from the Russian Federation, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP).

The MEP stressed that the most effective weapon against Russia’s blackmail to turn off the “gas tap” is EU solidarity.

“A generalised and overnight disconnection of Europe from Russian resources is not realistic, but in the medium and long term it is the only solution. The dependence of large EU economies – such as Germany’s – is a major obstacle to this necessary disconnection, but a united reaction, comparable to that during the pandemic, can provide the solutions to get out of this situation, which is immoral to say the least”, said the liberal MEP for the CaleaEuropeana.ro.

According to the MEP, it is necessary, as a first step, even if only in principle, for all EU Member States to speak “with one voice” on eliminating energy dependence on Russia.

“It is obvious that the European democratic architecture is incompatible with the immoral paradox of financing Russia’s war machine in the context of military aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine. Then, without delay, we need to take concrete steps that will bring us within a reasonable timeframe closer to this priority objective”, added the EPP MEP.

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MEP Vasile Blaga will vote against transnational lists: This kind of electoral system would reduce democracy in the EU

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The proposal for transnational lists for the upcoming European Parliament elections will be on the agenda of next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP).

“In short, it is about two votes that voters should exercise. One, as at present, for MEPs who will represent national constituencies. The second vote is for 28 MEPs from a European Union constituency, proposed by coalitions of European political parties, national voters’ associations and European political parties,” the MEP explained to CaleaEuropeană.ro.

According to the MEP, this is a hybrid system that dilutes electoral representation and creates a greater distance between representatives and represented.

“My vote will be against this initiative, as will the vote of my political group, the EPP. Those who support transnational lists say they do it to increase democracy in the EU. I would say that this argument is completely wrong, such an electoral system would reduce democracy in the EU as voters will vote for people they do not know”, said Vasile Blaga.

He said that the issue is highly disputed within the EPP group, but the vast majority is “inclined to reject this system which, moreover, would clearly benefit large countries and disadvantage medium and small countries”.

“Moreover, such a system goes beyond the EU’s remit and in many countries even requires changes to their constitutions”.

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EP S&D Group President: There is no excuse not to allow Romania to join the Schengen area. It has met all the requirements the EU has asked of it

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The President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia Perez, told a press conference with PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu on Monday that there is “no excuse” not to allow Romania to be accepted into the Schengen area and remain in this “situation of inequality with other countries”.

Iratxe Garcia Perez is visiting Romania. She will visit the port of Isaccea, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees have arrived in recent weeks. Afterwards, the delegation will go to Galați for a meeting with local authorities and a visit to the refugee centre, and the next day the visit continues to the Republic of Moldova.

“I would like to thank the President of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament for his presence in Romania and his support for the PSD and our country at key moments, particularly at this very difficult time given what is happening in Ukraine,” said PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu.

The two discussed the European response to the current situation in the economic, social and humanitarian fields.

“I presented to Mrs Perez the steps taken by the social democratic ministers to manage the refugee situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, our country’s ambition for Romania to become a strategic regional hub for the reconstruction of Ukraine and the development of the Black Sea area. Romanians have shown that they can be a positive example at European level”, continued Marcel Ciolacu.

The PSD president also reiterated that Romania should join the Schengen area as soon as possible in order to increase Romania’s role in the region. 

“We need a common response from the EU regarding the energy crisis, the future approach in the field of agriculture, as well as to support the states bordering Ukraine”, said Marcel Ciolacu, after the meeting with the leader of the Social Democrat group in the European Parliament.

For her part, Iratxe Garcia Perez stressed that Romania meets all the technical criteria required by the European Union in order to join the Schengen area.

“There is no excuse for this not to be a reality as soon as possible. There is no excuse not to allow Romania to be accepted into the Schengen area and remain in this situation of inequality with other countries. Romania has done its job, Romania has fulfilled all the requirements that the EU asked of it to join the Schengen area”, said the chair of the S&D Group in the European Parliament.  

At the end of his speech, Iratxe Garcia Perez offered Romania his personal and political commitment to “work together to make this a reality as soon as possible”.

“Romania is showing what the EU needs, namely solidarity and commitment. And we must respond to all this generosity that the Romanian people are showing towards the EU”, she added.

Iratxe Garcia Perez also discussed how Romanian citizens and authorities reacted to the war in Ukraine.

“I want to thank you for your hard work and for the solidarity shown by the Romanian people in these difficult times. Today I could see with my own eyes that the Romanian Government and the Romanian people are working with great commitment, respecting the principles and values of the European Union, and it has been proven once again that you are doing this in an exemplary way for the whole EU. We have seen for ourselves by visiting the school centre where a group of minors from an orphanage in Ukraine are being cared for and received in a way that deserves appreciation. It is an example of how we should act in the EU,” she told the conference at PSD headquarters.

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