How can cohesion policy help bring Europe closer to citizens? What changes are needed in the future regulations to make it work better for cities? This was in the focus of the event EUROCITIES organised jointly with CEMR and the European Parliament’s Urban intergroup on Tuesday 4 September, attracting over a hundred participants.
Opening the event with MEP Jan Olbrycht, EUROCITIES secretary general, Anna Lisa Boni pointed out the essential role cohesion policy plays in a more citizen-focused vision for Europe ahead of the European parliamentary elections, referring to our campaign ‘Cities4Euorpe - Europe for Citizens’. She called for the active involvement of cities in the design of future programmes.
To strengthen the Commission’s proposals, EUROCITIES recommended to better enable and encourage cities to combine ERDF and ESF+ locally and to make ERDF thematic concentration rules more flexible and climate-oriented, covering sustainable urban mobility. We also proposed to increase the earmarking for sustainable urban development strategies from 6 to 10 percent, extending it to ESF+.
CEMR highlighted major risks, like neglecting the spirit of the partnership principle and the territorial approach becoming confined to the new, dedicated policy objective.
Mrs Andriana Sukova, deputy director-general of DG Employment, Mr Moray Gilland, head of the policy development unit and Mrs Wallis Goelen Vandenbroeck, head of the urban development unit in DG REGIO presented the proposals on the future cohesion policy, regarding the integrated, place-based approach. DG REGIO emphasised the increased flexibility of the urban dimension and affirmed that URBACT and urban innovative actions will carry on under the European Urban Initiative.
The event took place as the MEPs finalise a series of opinions in response to the Commission proposals. Concluding, MEP Jan Olbrycht, rapporteur for the ERDF opinion of the Parliament’s budget committee, strongly encouraged fellow MEPs and the Commission to take the proposals and evidence provided by EUROCITIES and CEMR into account in the further negotiations.