The range of policy areas that the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection works on is already reflected in its name. As a result, 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, with its highly compacted structure, poses very particular challenges for sustainable environmental, transport and climate protection policies. Today, it is more important than ever to continue good practices and break new, innovative ground, particularly within the context of the growing city.
Furthermore, our area of business is characterised by an exceptionally high level of penetration in European and international law. The European Union has been playing an essential and formative role in environmental and climate protection policy in particular for some time now; well over 80% of newly adopted legal acts in the environmental and climate protection sector now stem from Brussels. This also increasingly applies to transport policy. With this in mind, early and wide-ranging involvement in European legislative procedures is not only a constitutionally anchored right of the German federal states, but rather an unavoidable necessity.
We shoulder this responsibility with great commitment: our colleagues not only attentively follow current developments at European level, they also participate in negotiation and legislative procedures wherever necessary. 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, also be developed exactly for local challenges. Therefore, we are constantly working on bringing our expertise to decision-makers in Brussels and Strasbourg in a number of ways.
Another key focus of our European policy work is the consistent creation and expansion of European networks. In doing so, we not only welcome several dozen high-ranking political and specialist delegations to Berlin each year, we are frequently guests in other European cities ourselves, to visualise successful approaches and learn from our partners. Like most of Berlin’s state authorities, we also offer many of our colleagues the opportunity to spend several weeks working in other European cities year after year to familiarise themselves in-depth with strategies there and to create and expand sustainable networks at working level. Last but not least, we are active in numerous European networks, such as EUROCITIES, POLIS, the Covenant of Mayors and the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law and share information intensively with our European partners as part of this.