BRUSSELS – In 2020 alone, the pandemic left a hole in the accounts of local and regional authorities across the European Union amounting to 180 billion euros. To weigh above all was the increase in expenses, which is worth 125 billion. But to this must be added 55 billion in lost revenue in the coffers of regions and municipalities across Europe, largely due to the decline in economic activity and the consequent collapse of taxes, fees, tariffs and other rights.
A “scissor effect”, as defined by the European Committee of the Regions which carried out the study presented in Brussels at the opening of the 19th edition of the Week of Regions and Cities “, which for more than two thirds affects the regions and intermediate bodies and for the rest the municipalities.
Scrolling through the 160 pages of the EU Regional Barometer, the figure of the German local authorities stands out, to which the pandemic, in 2020 alone, cost 111 billion euros, well over half of the total. This probably affects the fiscal and administrative organization, which in Germany hinges on the Länder on whose income transfers from the central government account for only 27%. The regions and municipalities and Italians are very far apart and have found a hole of 22.7 billion. The Spanish ones follow (-12.3 billion). In percentage terms, the largest loss concerns the Cypriot (-25%), Bulgarian (-15.3%) and Luxembourg (-13.5%) local and regional authorities.
The Italian regions among the most affected
The European study highlights the profound territorial differences in how the pandemic has affected different communities. Among the top seven European regions for the highest number of Covid victims out of 100 thousand inhabitants, four are Italian: in order Valle d’Aosta, Lombardy, Friuli V. G. ed Emilia Romagna. After the Madrid Region, Lombardy is the one in which the highest percentage increase in mortality (+ 39%) was recorded compared to the average of the previous four years. And in this sad ranking, three other Italian regions are among the top ten: the province of Trento, Aosta Valley e Piedmont.
Territories little involved in the NRP
Local European authorities also complain about the lack of involvement by central governments in the preparation of the NRP. Only a minority has been consulted by their own government and within this minority and only some of these have seen their contribution considered. Germany, Belgium and Poland were the most “inclusive” countries. The same did not happen in Italy, Spain, France and Croatia. The fact that cities have been given little consideration raises concerns that national plans are not really capable of fighting climate change, given that the success of the climate battle largely depends on cities.