European Affairs

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The diversity of policy areas that the Senate Department for the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action 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 within said policy areas due to its highly dense structure. Within the context of growing cities, it is paramount to continue to test best practices while also breaking new ground and setting forth innovative paths.

Furthermore, our area of business is characterized by an exceptionally high level of penetration in 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 environmental and climate protection sectors have its origins in Brussels. This is increasingly also the case for transport policies. 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.

We shoulder this responsibility with great commitment: our colleagues not only attentively follow current developments on the European level, but also engage in negotiations and legislative procedures wherever necessary. It is extremely important that Berlin’s interests be 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 exactly to combat local challenges. This is why 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 of new and expansion of already existing European networks. In doing so, we not only welcome several dozen high-ranking political and specialist delegations to Berlin each year. Oftentimes, we are ourselves guests in other European cities in order to see for ourselves how successful approaches were implemented, while also learning from our partners. We also offer many of our colleagues the opportunity to spend several weeks working in other European cities year after year to familiarize themselves with approaches and strategies of other cities and to create and expand sustainable networks on the 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.