Cohesion policy is vital to economic growth and social cohesion across Europe. For many cities, structural funds provide essential support for major investment programmes which directly impact on the quality of life of citizens and the liveability and attractiveness of cities.
Today, cities account for 75% of the EU’s population, 80% of energy use and 85% of Europe’s GDP. Yet currently, only 10% of EU regional funding is directly dedicated to urban issues. We are working to strengthen the investments in cities via the structural funds in the next programming period from 2014 - 2020.
The Commission’s proposals for the draft structural funds regulations, published on 5 October 2011, recognise the need for investing in cities. The proposals include many innovations with the potential to deliver integrated development on the ground and drive smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for the benefit of all – not only for those living in cities.
We welcomed the Commission’s proposals as a strong starting point and we have been working to maintain the strong urban dimension in the further negotiations on the future cohesion policy to ensure an adequate level of investment in our cities across the EU.
We believe that the European model of well-managed urban concentration is the most sustainable form of development and our European cities are assets in terms of global competition. Only metropolitan Europe can compete with the power of emerging megacities of Asia and Latin America. Without investing seriously in our major cities, we will not be able to maintain our global competitiveness. A strong urban agenda is not only important for cities but for the economic future of Europe as a whole.