On 2 December 2021, members of the AER Bureau gathered together online to discuss the work carried out by the Task forces, and decide on our political priorities for 2022.
But what does the AER Bureau do, you ask? The role of the AER Bureau is to act as the primary political voice of the AER. From democracy and citizens participation, to sustainable transport and tourism, the Bureau engages in issues of a pan-European and global nature that are important to our members, and sets out the political basis for the AER’s advocacy work.
So what is in the political pipeline for next year? Check out the outcomes below and read conclusions from our debate on Sustainable Mobility and Connectivity!
Adoption of the AER Position Paper on Climate
The AER Task force on Climate, kicked-off its work last June with a Bureau debate on how our regions can lead a sustainable and resilient recovery across Europe.
Its Chair, AER President, Magnus Berntsson from Västra Götaland (SE), presented the main outcome of its work, a position paper on Climate. This paper outlines AER’s positions and recommendations on key issues of the international and European climate agenda.
At the meeting, members voted in favour of adopting the AER position paper on Climate, which you can read here. Considering the growing importance of the issues it deals with, the Bureau also decided to prolong the work of the Climate Task Force until 2022.
Meet — and join — our new Task Forces!
President Berntsson also presented proposals from the Executive Board for the Bureau’s political priorities in 2022. Two new Task Force proposals were endorsed by Bureau members:
- Task Force on Jobs, Growth and Investment – (Open call for Expressions of Interest)
Through delivering services and infrastructure, providing education and skills-development opportunities, as well as supporting businesses and nurturing innovation, the fundamental role of regional and local authorities in driving economic growth is clear.
With this in mind, the Bureau agreed that the AER has a role to play in convening its members and supporting its advocacy work. The aim is to ensure that current and future reforms, as well as investments at national and European level work for our territories, our businesses and our citizens. Taking into consideration that they are also provided with adequate skills and financial resources to lead their own recovery and promote economic growth.
- Task Force on Tourism of tomorrow – (Open call for Expressions of Interest)
The tourism industry has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The AER considers that the recovery is a great opportunity to ensure the sector becomes more resilient, inclusive, innovative, productive and sustainable in a way that fully contributes to our regional, national and European ambitions to build back better.
Regional authorities play a major role in promoting sustainable tourism. With this in mind, Bureau members agreed that the responsibility for providing infrastructure, planning and managing tourism rests mainly with regional authorities. For this reason, they are best placed to ensure the sector maximises its contribution to the economy and quality of life in a region, while at the same time mitigating the industry’s potential adverse effects on society and the environment.
Next steps for Bureau Task Forces (December 2021 – March 2022)
|Sustainable Mobility, Connectivity||Democracy||Climate||NEW! |
| Drafting |
|Dissemination Position Paper||Call for |
expressions of interest
|–Call for |
expressions of interest
–Establishment work plan & objectives
|Spring Bureau Meeting |
|Adoption Position Paper||Adoption Position Paper||—-||Establishment work plan & objectives||Bureau debate|
AER Bureau debate on Sustainable Mobility & Connectivity
As part of our Autumn Bureau Meeting, the Chair of the Task Force on Sustainable Mobility & Connectivity, Sardinia (IT), organised a debate on Sustainable Mobility and Connectivity: The Road to Recovery and Green Transition with the collaboration of its members.
Mobility is essential to our economy and well-being. However, transport also has major adverse impacts on the environment — representing almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting the mobility needs of our economies and societies while ensuring it contributes to the overall reduction in air pollution and carbon emissions has never been more important to put Europe on a path to recovery, and get to net-zero emissions by 2050.
With this in mind, speakers explored the role of local and regional authorities in building sustainable mobility systems that will help meet the objectives of the European Green Deal, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Change Agreement. At the forefront of discussions was how to align these ambitions with the COVID-19 recovery.
The Chair of the Task force on Sustainable Mobility & Connectivity, Ms Alessandra Zedda, opened the debate by “reinforcing the urgency for fair and accessible transport infrastructure to connect all of Europe and not leave any territory behind“.
Following Ms Zedda’s opening remarks, the moderator, Mr Martin Tollén, Chair of the AER Working Group on Transport & Mobility, invited the Director of the Sustainable Transport Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to take the floor.
Mr Yuwei Li identified opportunities for improving our mobility and connectivity systems in Europe and securing economic prosperity and sustainable development in European regions and cities by “making the transport system more efficient in order to reduce the level of emissions“.
Participants also heard perspectives from the European Commission and Parliament during the debate.
Deputy Head of the Sustainable & Intelligent Transport Unit at the European Commission, Mr Axel Volkery, shared perspectives from the European Commission’s Strategy on Sustainable & Smart Mobility in his contribution.
Touching on points raised by Mr Volkery, Mr Ciarán Cuffe, a Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism, commented on the European Commission’s strategy by saying that it “missed an opportunity to outline a fundamentally transformed transport sector that fully aligns with the objectives of the European Green Deal“.
The final speaker, the Committee of the Regions’ Rapporteur of the Opinion for Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, Mr Robert van Asten, reflected on the importance of “the role of local and regional governments in paving the road for Europe to achieve its sustainable mobility objectives“. Martin Tollén agreed, pointing to the need for “smart & sustainable cities, as well as the change from cars to public transportation.”
So what are the next steps following on from the Bureau debate? All inputs shared during the debate by the speakers and participants will feed into an AER position on sustainable mobility and connectivity by developing recommendations to improve their contribution to economic growth, inclusive and sustainable development across Europe, taking the role of regions into account.