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16 June 2021

Keynote by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General DG Move, European Commission / Smart Cities Marketplace Forum 2021

Matthew Baldwin

Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General DG Move, European Commission highlighted the importance of becoming a climate-neutral continent. He highlighted how cities are consuming two-thirds of global energy and lend themselves well to measures to reduce energy.

On the question of “Why smart?” Matthew Baldwin described how Smart plays an important role in what the mission wants to achieve in cities - using smart city solutions, urban mobility measures (and plans) and energy efficiency improvements. He pointed out how smart means working across sectors to develop an overall approach also involving citizens from the outset.

Matthew Baldwin stressed how the Smart Cities Marketplace is a forerunner of what is needed to succeed in creating Climate Neutral Cities [private financing and public funds working together].

On behalf of the Commission, Matthew Baldwin made clear that the goal is to ensure that we have a large number [100] of cities to become climate neutral by 2030. The path there is not simple and will include more work on climate city contracts, Memorandums of Understanding, investment plans, an EC mission platform bringing actors together - expected to be operational later this year, and many other measures.

In the end, Matthew Balwin asked himself how the EC will pay for it and answered: “We will not,” he said. Then he explained how Horizon Europe will provide some funding to develop ideas and try out solutions but nowhere near the need for finance to achieve climate neutrality. He stated that to succeed, public funding on the European, national, and local level will not be enough, but must work together with private funding - for example, through Green Bonds and blended financing.