The diversity of policy areas that the Senate Department for Urban Mobility, Transport, Climate Action and the Environment works on is shown in its name. Our employees attend to future issues that have a particularly direct and lasting impact on people’s lives: a healthy and resilient environment, clean air and water, high-quality urban green spaces and sustainable transport have a positive effect on us all. The city state of Berlin is confronted with very particular challenges in these policy areas due to its highly dense structure. Within the context of growing cities, it is paramount to continue with best practices whilst also breaking new ground.
Furthermore, our area of business is characterised by an exceptionally high level of overlap with European and international law. The European Union has been an essential actor in directing and shaping environmental and climate protection policy for some time now. Well over 80% of newly adopted legal acts in the environmental and climate protection sectors have their origin in Brussels. This is increasingly the case for mobility and transport policies as well. With this in mind, an early and comprehensive involvement in the European legislative process is not only a right of the German federal states, but rather an unavoidable necessity if Berlin’s interests are to be given a fair hearing.
We shoulder this responsibility with great commitment. Our colleagues not only follow current developments on the European level attentively, but also engage in negotiations and legislative procedures wherever necessary. After all, it is extremely important that Berlin’s interests are duly considered – if for no other reason than the fact that most European legal acts are implemented and enforced by regional and local authorities and must, therefore, be developed with precision in order to combat local challenges. This is why we are constantly working on bringing our expertise to decision-makers in Brussels and Strasbourg in a wide variety of ways.
We are supported in this by the Representation of the State of Berlin to the EU in Brussels. The colleagues there follow debates on European policy and keep us up to date with the current status of political and technical developments in Brussels and Strasbourg. Moreover, they make the case for Berlin’s specific interests, explain the background to Berlin’s standpoints and contribute to political discourse in Brussels by, for example, holding public events.
Another key focus of our European policy work is the consistent creation of new and the expansion of existing European networks. In doing so, we not only welcome numerous high-ranking political and specialist delegations to Berlin each year, but are ourselves guests in other European cities as well in order to find out how successful approaches have been implemented whilst also learning from our partners. In common with most authorities at federal state level, we also offer every year many of our colleagues the opportunity to spend several weeks working in other European cities to familiarise themselves with the approaches and strategies of other cities and to create and expand sustainable networks at working level. Last but not least, we are active in numerous metropolitan and regional networks and use them to share information intensively with our European and international partners.
By securing targeted European funding, we are in the end in an even better position to implement our numerous projects and plans. As a regional point of contact for the LIFE funding programme of the European Union, we also support further Berlin actors with their applications for funding for schemes to protect nature and the environment.