There are ‘strong’ progressive forces in Visegrad – EURACTIV.com
The Free Cities Pact, a 2019 cooperation agreement between the mayors of Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Budapest, sent the rest of Europe “a clear message that there are strong actors in Visegrad who are committed to the liberal and progressive values of the EU, ”Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) told EURACTIV Czechia in an interview.
“We are committed to the fundamental and ambitious goals of the EU, such as the Green Deal or digitization,” said Hřib.
“There are regular working meetings and exchanges of know-how in the field of climate policy, COVID measures, but also in terms of human rights,” he added.
Opposition mayors in the capitals of the Visegrad group have recently been pushing for better access to EU funds in order to bypass financial constraints imposed by their governments.
“We have managed to achieve partial success, because thanks to this pact, the call for the involvement of regions and cities has been implemented in the guidelines of the RRF [Instrument for Recovery and Resilience, the largest part of the Reconstruction Fund]. For example, we were also successful in negotiating increased funding for sustainable urban development, ”said Hřib.
The mayor admitted that discussions with the regions do take place, for example through the Union of Cities and Municipalities of the Czech Republic.
“On the other hand, the question of integrating urban requirements is no longer so clear, because while the Ministry of Industry and Trade considers the EU requirements for ‘green and smart’ as a complication, we would very much like to address these issues in Prague. more proactively, ”warned Hřib.
A green push
Hřib said green policy is high on the agenda, with Prague close to fulfilling its pledge to plant 1 million trees in eight years. He also said that they want the post of blue-green infrastructure coordinator to work in the city.
“Its function will be to ensure that the planned investment projects meet all modern green trends and that the projects do not need to be reassessed at a later date,” he said.
“In general, I can say that Prague takes the fight against climate change very seriously, which has been demonstrated, among other things, by its climate commitment. We have set ourselves the goal of reducing CO2 emissions in the capital by at least 45% by 2030, compared to 2010, and achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest ”, he said. -he adds. (Ondřej Plevák, EURACTIV.cz)