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Feb 20, 2024

EUVP Visit Story - Gabriel Andrés Vannelli

Photo of Mr VannelliIn April of 2022, the EUVP had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Gabriel Andrés Vannelli, the Director of Sustainable Development for the City of Vicente López in Argentina, to Brussels.

In advance of my study visit, I proposed that my bespoke programme should focus on the following themes - EU Cooperation and Engagement with Latin America, Cities and Green Transition, and Sustainable Transport and Urban Development.

One of the highlights of my programme included a day at the insightful Smart Cities Marketplace Forum. While attending this event, which was co-organised by the European Commission, I had the opportunity to learn how the quality of European citizens’ lives are improved by the integration of innovative and cleantech solutions.

I met with many colleagues from the various EU institutions over the course of my study visit, notably from the Directorate-General for International Partnerships, the European External Action Service, and the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency.

Additionally, I had valuable opportunities to learn from perspectives which were external to the EU institutions, when I met with other organisations such as the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. These meetings also gave me chances to compare European local governments with the South American local government which I work for.

I was deeply impressed by the efficiency and effectiveness of the EU, and asked myself over and over again, how can the EU be at the forefront of the needs of the planet and also have the time to follow up on all of its thousands of projects of daily management, and those of non-daily management, such as a pandemic or a war?

In my view, the success of the EU may be attributed to three things.

1.    The organisation and division of tasks.
2.    The professionalism of its staff.
3.    The sense of belonging. Everyone working for the EU may be from different countries but, all together, they make up the EU, and they all value and defend the Union with a great sense of belonging.

Participating in the EUVP motivated me to take action when I returned to Vicente López. The meetings I had during my study visit turned on a light bulb over what we had been doing in our city in terms of sustainability.

Since my return, my city has joined the 2050 Carbon Neutral Challenge, we are in the process of finishing our Local Climate Action Plan, and we have created a Municipal Climate Change Office.

I am very grateful to have participated in the EUVP and to have been able to see the professionalism of all you in the EU in the face of this great global problem that is climate change.

I greatly admire the EU’s climate action, and urge for the inspirational work to be continued. I ask you to continue raising the bar and the goals of the fight against climate change, so we can follow them!