"An EU urban agenda is about cities, national governments and the EU working together to solve Europe's problems," said Tom Balthazar, deputy mayor of Ghent, representing EUROCITIES at the CiTIES Forum on 2 June in Brussels.
The second edition of the European Commission's CiTIES Forum brought stakeholders together from cities, European networks and national governments to discuss the next steps for an EU urban agenda.
Tom Balthazar spoke on a panel alongside regional policy commissioner, Corina Cretu. He outlined our expectations for an EU urban agenda that better connects existing policies affecting cities, and that directly engages cities in policy making.
Giorgios Kaminis, mayor of Athens, participated in the same panel, pointing out that it is in cities where we find hte biggest challenges, and therefore cities need to be empowered to resolve these.
At a workshop on inclusive and social integrated cities, Thomas Fabian, deputy mayor of Leipzig and chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, stressed that cities are at the forefront of the reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees in the EU. He also emphasised that cities must be part of the decision making process on the issues that impact on them. Find out more about Thomas Fabian's intervention at the link provided.
Our secretary general, Anna Lisa Boni, contributed to a workshop on smart cities, where she stressed the need to encourage and involve 'smart citizens' in the transition to smarter cities. This intervention was part of a series of events that Anna Lisa spoke at on the theme of smart cities; see the link provided for more information.
Commissioner Cretu presented the findings of the Commission's 2014 consultation on an EU urban agenda. The Commission also launched its new staff working document at the 2 June event, which outlines the outcomes of the 2014 consultation and sets out the next steps at EU level. The Commission will focus on better policy coordination, improved impact assessments, and a revamp of their web portal on EU initiatives with an urban dimension.
Maros Sefcovic, European Commission vice president, delivered a keynote speech emphasising the importance of cities in delivering Europe's strategic objectives, including those relating to Energy Union.
Visit the links provided for our statement on an EU urban agenda, which we promoted at the forum, and our supporting infographic.
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