On 22 January a major meeting took place at the premises of the Métropole Européenne de Lille. Several mayors, elected representatives and energy experts from the Eurometropolis attended the event “Communes de l’Eurométropole, quelles politiques énergétiques pour demain?” They had the opportunity to exchange their practical experience in several workshops, at which they discussed issues such as renewable energy, public lighting, mobility and the energy efficiency of buildings. Several cities (including Lille, Lambersart and Mouscron) and inter-communal authorities (Leiedal, Ideta) shared their experience with respect to the Covenant of Mayors, pointing out the advantages of joining and implementing this initiative.
Upon opening this meeting, the president of the Eurometropolis, Damien Castelain, again stressed the importance of the energy sector as a source of employment, as well as the pioneering role of the Eurometropolitan region “at the forefront of innovation”, in particular within the current context of the third industrial revolution. He also stressed his intention to “mobilise all competences of the region” in order to “capitalise on our local dynamics” with a view to developing joint projects.
Two senior officials travelled to Lille in order to attend this Eurometropolitan event: Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director for Mainstreaming Adaptation and Low Carbon Technology with the European Commission, and Marie-Christine Marghem, Belgian federal minister for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development and échevine empêchée of Tournai.
The latter agreed with the president: she sees the Eurometropolitan region as an “opportunity” and cross-border cooperation as a chance for “the citizens and companies”. The minister stated that she drew her inspiration from the good initiatives of her neighbours, in particular Lille and its public transport network. Without forgetting the future challenges, Ms Marghem discussed her “conviction, shared by many”, with respect to the future energy challenges for the Eurometropolis, before concluding her speech with a saying that is perfectly adapted to cross-border cooperation: “together we stand, divided we fall”.
A more detailed document is being prepared in order to capitalise on the experiences shared by the communes or intermunicipal associations and on the themes discussed in each workshop.