Highlights from our EU urban agenda seminar

  • cooperation

The European Commission says it will prepare an action plan around an EU urban agenda

EUROCITIES president and mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, presented our initial position on an EU urban agenda at a side event of the European Commission’s forum on the future of cities. She said an urban agenda at EU level has to be based on a practical, coherent and coordinated approach which allows cities, the EU, and national governments to work more closely together.

Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz suggested appointing an urban coordinator who would support Commissioner Johannes Hahn, responsible for regional policy, in joining up EU policies with an urban dimension. Existing methods for involving cities in EU policy developments should be reviewed to see how they can be developed further. Commissioners should make urban study visits and meetings with city mayors a standard part of their programmes when they visit member states. And this week’s urban forum should set a precedent for biannual urban summits between the EU and national and city governments.    

We co-organised the event with CEMR which was an opportunity to provide the local perspective on what an EU urban agenda should include and how it could be implemented.

Commissioner Johannes Hahn, responsible for regional policy, joined us for the event. He said now was a good time to discuss this issue, with EU parliamentary elections and a new European Commission around the corner. During an afternoon press conference, he explained that his services would start preparing an action plan for an EU urban agenda within the month.

Participants at the seminar agreed that an increasingly urbanised Europe needs its different levels of government to work together more closely and more directly. Many participants also agreed there was a lack of accurate data at urban level which made it difficult for policy makers to understand the performance and needs of urban areas. One recommendation was for the Commission to identify new indicators that measure quality of life at urban level better than GDP.

Speakers at the event included Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent; Carla Rey, deputy mayor of Venice; Michal Olszewski, deputy mayor of Warsaw; and Hella Dunger-Löper, Berlin’s state secretary for European affairs. The EUROCITIES Task Force 2014 will continue to work with the Commission and other stakeholders in drawing up an EU urban agenda that benefits cities and helps Europe emerge stronger from the economic crisis.

To read our statement on an EU urban agenda or our press release, click on the links below.

EUROCITIES staff contact

Dorthe Nielsen