Brussels, 11 July 2020

Working Group 3 online meeting

Between 07-10 July 2020, Working Group 3 on Environment, Climate Change and Energy Security met online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Five online sessions were organised with three policy debates on transport, energy and environment within the European Green Deal.

A common challenge in the EaP region regarding the environment is the implementation of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA). WG3 suggested that the creation of a civil society network for the monitoring of EIA works in EaP countries would contribute to the factual implementation.

In regard to transport, the pandemic has led to a suspension of the public transport system in several EaP countries and left people without mobility options. Participants agreed that one of the key priorities for the EaP region is the redevelopment of regional transport links. This redevelopment should be accompanied by the transport sector’s transition to a less carbonised and more sustainable model. In addition, sustainable urban mobility plans should be developed. These plans should focus, among other things, on enlarging the space to pedestrians and cyclists  and clean transport. As to road safety, it is important that road safety lead agencies and road safety funds are created in all EaP countries which is not yet the case.

A priority in the energy sector is the green energy transition in the EaP region. Recommendations include the support for energy efficiency programmes at the local level, the establishment of comprehensive energy plans at the national level, and efforts to enhance the use of renewable energy at the regional level. In addition, energy connectivity between the EaP countries and the EU should be strengthened.

External energy dependence of EaP countries must be reduced, said Marion Schiller-Probst, International Relations Officer at DG ENERGY, during the EU stakeholder meeting. Moreover, the focus should lie on the transition to sustainable energy systems and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Anna Repullo Grau, Political Officer for EaP at the EEAS, underlined the support and commitment to the partner countries which was reaffirmed during the leaders’ conference. She stated that resilience is central to tackle the novel challenges of our time, such as the green and digital transformation.

Participants of the WG3 meeting agreed to produce two policy papers covering waste and water management and transition to circular economy and the COVID-19 effects on transport.

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