Our politicians met MEPs from the European Parliament’s Urban Intergroup, and presented our position on an EU urban agenda at the REGI committee.
We have been strengthening our links with the European Parliament and maintaining momentum in the development of an EU urban agenda through a series of activities this week.
Our politicians met MEPs from the Parliament’s URBAN intergroup on Wednesday evening for a series of focused discussions on urban challenges. EUROCITIES politicians joined MEPs on five tables to discuss the following themes: climate and air quality; work – the role of cities; sustainable urban mobility; investments and income generation in cities; and social investments and innovation. The five themes are linked to the focus areas of our Strategic Framework 2014-2020, available at the link below. The aim of the debate was to move the political discussion on an EU urban agenda a step further by bringing together local and EU level perspectives on both content and added value.
Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP (pictured), vice president of the URBAN intergroup, and Karine Daniel, vice mayor of Nantes, president of EUROCITIES, welcomed participants to event, which was the first official meeting between our politicians and the intergroup since it was re-established in December.
Karine Daniel also joined the Parliament’s regional development (REGI) committee on Thursday morning, at which MEPs discussed Kerstin Westphal MEP's report on the resolution on the urban dimension of EU policy. Speaking at the committee meeting, Karine Daniel remarked that many of the points in the report reflect our vision for an EU urban agenda. She expressed the need for better coordination of existing policies with an urban dimension, not more legislation for cities.
With around 70% of legislation implemented at regional and local level, she called for more systematic engagement of cities in EU policy development, citing the involvement of cities in Commission expert groups as a good example.
Karine Daniel expressed support for Kerstin Westphal’s proposal for an urban envoy within the Commission, who would be responsible for the political and practical coordination of different sectoral policies. She also backed up the call for a series of urban summits, involving stakeholders from all levels of government and various sectors. These would provide a platform for cities to contribute to EU policy developments at both political and expert level.
In terms of policy focus, Karine Daniel outlined the five areas we have identified in our Strategic Framework, where the challenges and opportunities in cities are closely linked to developments at EU level. They are:
Cities as drivers of quality jobs and sustainable growth
Inclusive, diverse and creative cities
Green, free-flowing and healthy cities
Urban innovation and governance in cities
These are the areas where we see the greatest potential for an urban agenda to make a difference through more coordinated policies, better partnership between different levels of government, and more targeted EU funding.
The EUROCITIES declaration on work, launched today (Thursday 26 February) is a concrete example of how we see an EU urban agenda working. It proposes partnership across various government levels and sectors, and targeted EU funding to jointly tackle one of the EU’s most pressing challenges, unemployment, providing real results on the ground for citizens. For more details on the declaration, please visit the news article linked below.
Dimitar Nikolov, mayor of Burgas, also intervened in the REGI committee meeting. He explained how structural funds deployed in cities can support an integrated approach to urban development leading to more effective results on the ground. Integrated urban development should be the essence of an EU urban agenda. The structural funds, with a scope to reach across a wide range of urban policy areas, will be an important tool to this end.