The Mayors of Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw, and Budapest (the capitals of Visegrad Four group countries – Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary) asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to support the direct financing of cities from the European Recovery Fund in an open letter today.
The letter, available to CTK, states that the money should be used for an eco-friendly transformation of cities.
Merkel was scheduled to debate the fund at a summit of European leaders in Brussels yesterday.
In the letter, the four mayors said that the cities and their inhabitants are facing serious impacts of climate change. They also added that cities can help the EU reach carbon neutrality through projects like the modernization of public transport or lowering of the energy needs of buildings.
The mayors called for the creation of a special mechanism that would allow European cities to receive money directly from the European Recovery Fund.
The EU plans to create the fund as a way to restart the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. Its size is estimated at up to 750 billion euros more than in the regular multi-annual financial framework of the EU.
The European Commission wants to borrow the money on the financial markets. EU politicians want the fund to also address the environmental goals of the EU, one of which is achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Today’s EU summit is the first in-person meeting of EU leaders since the start of the pandemic.
Ahead of the meeting, Germany suggested that it wants to reach a conclusion on the fund as soon as possible, but individual countries’ views differ significantly.
For example, the Czech Republic criticises the fact that one of the main defining factors in the allocation of the funds is to be based on employment numbers. The Czech government thinks it would be more appropriate to decide based on the economic losses during the pandemic.