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Vice-President Šefčovič and Commissioner Bulc encourage cities to accelerate investment in sustainable energy and transport solutions

Date: 15/06/2016

On 24 May 2016, Vice President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc attended the General Assembly of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities  in Eindhoven. The General Assembly was jointly organised by the European Commission, the Dutch Presidency and the city of Eindhoven and brought together 450 participants, including Mayors, CEOs and high-level speakers from across Europe to discuss and explore future finance and investment opportunities for smart cities.

Ahead of the trip Vice-President Šefčovič said: “Mayors experience first-hand that new disruptive technologies are blurring the boundaries between the worlds of energy, transport, digital and the circular economy. Cities is where the rubber meets the road, it's where traditional policy silos are broken first. An Initiative such as the European Innovation partnership on Smart Cities and Communities is there to help them doing that".

Commissioner Bulc added, "Cleaner air, safer transport networks, reducing congestion – these are just some of the reasons why smart city development is so important. A key priority of this Commission is to simplify and broaden access to finance. We want more money to flow into good projects that can be replicated in cities across Europe and then exported".

The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities helps 4700 partners from European cities, companies, research organisations and others thrive in this global market. Smart Cities and Communities play an important role in the energy transition in Europe. A key aim is to better align efforts of both public and private partners in the roll-out of mature innovative solutions at larger scale, especially looking for solutions at the interface of transport, energy and ICT.

Commissioner Bulc also announced that the new EIB ELENA facility  is now ready to provide broader technical assistance to cities for creating large scale investable projects in innovative urban energy and transport. The assistance is fully aligned with the European Investment Advisory Hub  and has a budget of EUR 50 million in 2016 and 2017.

Commissioner Bulc underlined the readiness of the Commission and the European Investment Bank to support cities and companies in this endeavour. Noting the recent announcement  of the Dutch government that from 2025 onwards all public buses in the Netherlands should be emission-free, Commissioner Bulc further encouraged cities and regions to switch to alternatively fuelled vehicles.

As part of the EIPs action cluster initiatives on urban mobility, up to 70 partners from cities, regions and companies already collaborate to advance innovative solutions in the field of smart electro-mobility and mobility services. Action manifestos have been signed in January 2016. First proposals for technical assistance and financing support in the field of electric buses are under discussion. The cities of Lyon and Birmingham are lead-supporters to the roll-out of an urban multi-modal dataset and interface to enable better access to data and interoperability in up to 50 cities.

More information on Smart Cities is available here

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