Following climate action, the survey found that investing in sustainable mobility ranked as the second-highest priority among mayors, with 23 percent emphasizing its significance. The mayors outlined various measures to address climate action, including the establishment of low emission zones, the expansion of green spaces within cities, and support for the European Green Deal. Additionally, plans to enhance metro lines and renew green bus fleets were also mentioned as part of their strategies.

However, funding emerged as a major concern for the mayors. One-fifth of them highlighted the need for increased financial support to effectively implement their pandemic response plans. While EU funding has assisted mayors in partially bridging the significant financial gaps in areas such as climate and energy, they feel that comparable support for other priorities is lacking.

André Sobczak, Secretary General of Eurocities—a network comprising 200 cities across 38 countries—commented on the survey’s findings, stating, “The mayors’ strong commitment to climate action contrasts with a troubling trend we currently observe among national and European politicians, many of whom are deviating from their commitment to a climate-neutral Europe.” Sobczak emphasized the importance of addressing funding gaps in areas related to equality and social inclusion to prevent potential setbacks in cities.

The survey also highlighted several noteworthy findings:

The top investment priorities identified by mayors to combat the energy crisis are sustainable mobility (24 percent), building renovation and energy efficiency (23 percent), and the development of renewable/green energy (20 percent).

92 percent of EU mayors believe their actions contribute to EU priorities, yet over 50 percent of them feel that EU institutions and policies tend to overlook their specific needs and potential.

The current high level of inflation has affected the ability of over 86 percent of mayors to make strategic long-term investments.

Mayors anticipate difficulties in securing sufficient resources to address various issues, such as housing (38 percent), climate change and the energy transition (37 percent), and urban poverty and social exclusion (32 percent).

When asked about the challenges faced in 2022, mayors cited the following:

  • 28 percent mentioned the energy crisis, including climate change and energy poverty challenges. This encompassed the need for financing and enhancing building energy efficiency.
  • 26 percent expressed concerns about climate change and the efforts required to mitigate extreme weather events while striving to achieve ambitious climate neutrality goals.
  • 23 percent highlighted the ongoing economic recovery, focusing on stimulating post-Covid growth and managing high inflation within public budgets.
  • 22 percent addressed migration issues, particularly the influx of Ukrainian refugees resulting from the conflict with Russia.

Sobczak further emphasized the alignment of mayors with European priorities, noting their pivotal role in addressing global challenges such as the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the survey’s findings indicated that over half of EU-based mayors perceive EU regulations as burdensome to their local priorities and believe that the EU institutions do not adequately listen to them. Sobczak called for increased attention to local priorities during the upcoming EU campaign, emphasizing the importance of reducing inequalities, strengthening public services, and making a positive impact on people’s lives.

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