Introduction: Regions for Green Economy

The European Commission, the Council and the Parliament have all repeatedly called for regional cooperation in the context of the 2030 framework on climate and energy and the Energy Union. Together with experts of regional representations of the German Länder, the Heinrich–Böll-Stiftung EU Office wants to highlight best practices of frontrunner regions as well as the increasing number of co-operations beyond national borders. In a series of events we want to demonstrate how regions at EU and global scale manage to decouple economic growth and job creation from environmental consumption in practice.

In 2015, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung EU Office commissioned a study on this issue with a particular focus on the 2030 climate and energy framework. This study, written by Ecofys, has the title “Driving Regional Cooperation Forward in the 2030 Renewable Energy Framework”. This report highlights the importance of regional cooperation and presents a variety of options for strengthening regional cooperation in order to bridge the gap between national policies and a purely Europeanised approach.
At the same time experts in the representations of the German Länder came up with the idea to better highlight the challenges and successes of low-carbon strategies from a regional perspective.  

The first event of the “Regions for Green Economy” series took place on 3rd March with the breakfast debate on the issue of „Nuclear risks across borders. Doel and Tihange seen from a neighbour’s perspective”, which shed light at the current situation in Belgium after the repeated shutdown of nuclear power plants and provided ample room for discussions on the Belgian nuclear policy from the perspective of its Dutch and German neighbours who are equally concerned.

In the context of the Post-Paris climate debates, the next activities will focus on the role of subnational cooperation in scaling up climate ambition and renewable energy targets at EU and international level.  The events will showcase successful regional models and cities climate action partnerships, and explore innovative solutions to common regulatory, infrastructural, finance and technological challenges that cities and regions are facing.